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Israel Cancels Taiwan Jets

Israel has announced it is canceling plans to sell 40 Kfir jet fighters to Taiwan, and the Chinese have promised they will only sell Middle Eastern countries defensive weaponry in limited quantities that would not endanger peace in the region.

The announcements, while not linked, were made last week during the visit of the Chinese foreign minister, Qian Qichen, who left Friday after spending three days in Israel.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said Israel had decided even before the visit of the Chinese minister to refrain from selling Taiwan the 40 Israeli-designed- and-built Kfir jets.

The Chinese are currently selling nuclear reactors to Iran and Libya, which, they maintain, are for civilian purposes.

Four years ago, China sold ground-to-ground missiles to Saudi Arabia. It also provided Syria with the technology to produce M-9 ballistic missiles.