The man in charge of China's aerospace, Mr Lu Tung, has been viewing a number of civil and military aircraft, including the Harrier 'jump jet' near Guildford, a London suburb.
The man in charge of China's aerospace, Mr Lu Tung, has been viewing a number of civil and military aircraft, including the Harrier 'jump jet' near Guildford, a London suburb. The visit of Mr Lu and his twenty-four man delegation came a month after Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Chen was a flying display by a Harrier jet at the same airfield.
Mr Lu Tung, China's Minister of the Third Ministry of Machine Building - and the Chinese Minister responsible for aerospace - today (Monday) commenced a two-day visit to British Aerospace.
Minister Lu and his 24 - strong delegation from the People's Republic of China are guests of the British Government.
On the first day of his visit to BAE, Minister Lu toured the Warton (Lancashire) factory before flying to the Dunsfold Flight Development Centre of Kingston-Brough Division, near Guildford, Survey.
There, the Minister and his delegation watched demonstrations by the Harrier "Jump Jet" and Hawk ground attack/trainer aircraft. The Chinese delegation flew from Warton to Dunsfold in a BAC 111 airliner.
Later in the day they toured the Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, production line and saw Harrier and Hawk assembly. During production line tours the Chinese delegation met Union representatives.
The second part of the Minister's tour is scheduled for this coming Wednesday (13th December) when he will visit BAe factories at Hatfield (Herts) an Hurn, near Bournemouth.
Minister Lu's programme includes viewing a number of British Aerospace aircraft, both civil and military.
SYNOPSIS: Before the display, Mr Lu spoke with officials from British Aerospace, who make the Harrier jet. In November, Premier Wang told the British Board of Trade that the aircraft was high on China's list of military needs. China was reportedly interested in buying up to ninety Harriers, worth about six hundred million United States dollars.
British Prime Minister, James Callaghan has told Mr Wang, that Britain is prepared to consider selling China defence equipment including the 'jump-jet'. But there has been speculation that the United States might block any such deal through Cocom, the co-ordinating committee which controls exports of strategic goods to communist countries. The Soviet Union has expressed displeasure at the possibility of any British arms deal with Peking.
Anglo-Chinese talks about the Harrier have highlighted the Soviet Union's concern about military sales to China. In a letter to Mr Callaghan Soviet President, Leonid Brezhnev said Anglo-Soviet relations would freeze if Britain allowed the profit motive to win over common-sense, and sold military equipment to China. Moscow sees any such sales as a direct threat to its eastern borders with China.
The Guardian newspaper reported in late November that China's defence priorities were for ground, rather than air force needs, and first Harrier sales were not likely inside eighteen months.