News

DATE=9/2/98 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-238021 TITLE=CHINA / ISRAEL (L ONLY) BYLINE=ROGER WILKISON DATELINE=BEIJING CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: ISRAEL HAS JOINED THE LIST OF COUNTRIES EXPRESSING CONCERN OVER NORTH KOREA'S TEST-FIRING OF A BALLISTIC MISSILE EARLIER THIS WEEK, WITH DEFENSE MINISTER YITZHAK MORDECHAI CALLING THE LAUNCH A DANGEROUS DEVELOPMENT. V-O-A CORRESPONDENT ROGER WILKISON REPORTS MR. MORDECHAI -- WHO IS ON A VISIT TO CHINA -- MET FOR 90 MINUTES WEDNESDAY WITH CHINESE PRESIDENT JIANG ZEMIN, A REFLECTION OF THE CLOSE MILITARY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. TEXT: EMERGING FROM HIS MEETING WITH THE CHINESE LEADER, MR. MORDECHAI SAID NORTH KOREA'S MISSILE TEST IS DOUBLY DANGEROUS, FIRST BECAUSE IT SHOWS NORTH KOREA HAS SUCH A CAPABILITY AND, SECOND, BECAUSE NORTH KOREA HAS CLOSE TIES TO IRAN AND SYRIA, BOTH OF THEM STAUNCH FOES OF ISRAEL. ISRAELI OFFICIALS SAY NORTH KOREA IS HELPING IRAN DEVELOP ITS MISSILE CAPABILITY. ONE OFFICIAL SAYS MR. MORDECHAI DISCUSSED IRAN'S CLOSE TIES TO CHINA WITH PRESIDENT JIANG AND PORTRAYED THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC AS A DANGER TO STABILITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST. ISRAEL SAYS IT HAS RECEIVED ASSURANCES FROM CHINA THAT BEIJING WILL NOT HELP IRAN BUILD A NUCLEAR REACTOR, BUT SOME ISRAELI AND AMERICAN DEFENSE ANALYSTS SAY CHINA IS STILL TRANSFERRING WEAPONS TECHNOLOGY TO IRAN. MR. MORDECHAI, WHO HAS ALREADY VISITED DEFENSE PLANTS IN THE NORTHWESTERN CHINESE CITY OF XI'AN AND A NAVAL BASE IN SHANGHAI, IS TRAVELLING WITH THE HEADS OF NINE OF ISRAEL'S BIGGEST WEAPONS MANUFACTURERS. ALTHOUGH BOTH ISRAEL AND CHINA ARE NOTORIOUSLY SECRETIVE ABOUT THEIR DEFENSE DEALS, REPORTS FROM ISRAEL SUGGEST THE ARMS MANUFACTURERS WANT TO REVERSE A FIVE-YEAR DECLINE IN WEAPONS SALES TO BEIJING. MR. MORDECHAI SAID ON MONDAY HE HOPES CHINA'S DRIVE TO MODERNIZE ITS ARMY WILL RESULT IN LARGE ARMS CONTRACTS FOR ISRAEL. ISRAELI OFFICIALS ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THEIR COUNTRY'S ARMS SALES TO CHINA BEGAN ABOUT 1980, LONG BEFORE FORMAL DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES WERE ESTABLISHED IN 1992. DEFENSE ANALYSTS SAY ISRAEL MADE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM THE DEALS DURING THE 1980'S, MAINLY ON TANK AND AIRCRAFT UPGRADES, BUT AN ISRAELI DIPLOMAT SAYS SALES OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS HAVE DROPPED TO LESS THAN 50-MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. WESTERN EXPERTS IN BEIJING, HOWEVER, SAY ISRAELI ARMS DEALS WITH CHINA ARE WORTH MORE THAN 100-MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR AND THAT ISRAEL IS CHINA'S BIGGEST WEAPONS SUPPLIER, AFTER RUSSIA. /// REST OPT /// ISRAEL HAS CONSISTENTLY DENIED ALLEGATIONS THAT IT TRANSFERRED U-S TECHNOLOGY TO CHINA FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHINESE F-10 FIGHTER PLANE. BUT IT REFUSES TO DISCUSS THE F-10 PROJECT OR SAY WHETHER IT IS INVOLVED IN IT. THE ONLY DEFENSE DEAL WITH CHINA (THAT) ISRAELI OFFICIALS ARE WILLING TO TALK ABOUT IS A 250-MILLION-DOLLAR PROJECT TO EQUIP A RUSSIAN-BUILT TRANSPORT PLANE WITH ADVANCED RADAR AND WARNING SYSTEMS, SO THE CHINESE CAN USE IT AS A SURVEILLANCE AIRCRAFT. (SIGNED) NEB/RW/FC/WTW 02-Sep-98 4:58 AM EDT (0858 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .