China and Russia are preparing to enter into a joint venture to
co-produce a deadly new supersonic cruise missile, the Zvezda Kh-31P
mod-2, designed specifically to attack U.S. Navy Aegis warships and U.S.
Army Patriot radar batteries, according to an expert on national
security and Asian military affairs.

The source, a congressional staffer specializing in Chinese and
Russian defense issues, and who asked not to be identified in this
report, told WorldNetDaily that China and Russia are scheduled to sign a
major arms deal worth billions to the ailing Russian defense industry,
including the joint missile production agreement. Russia currently
sells a target drone version of the same Zvezda missile to the United
States Navy, called the MA-31.

The Chinese weapons purchase from Russia is reported to include
two more Sovremenny-class warships,

Russian Sukhoi SU-30 strike fighter with Zvezda Kh-31 missiles in front

nuclear-tipped anti-ship missiles, submarines, supersonic fighter jets
and a joint venture to manufacture an improved version of the Zvezda
Kh-31 supersonic cruise missile.

A photograph first published by WorldNetDaily on Jan. 4, 2000
shows a U.S. Navy F-4 firing a target drone MA-31 missile during recent
tests. The Zvezda MA-31 missile tested by the U.S. Navy is officially
reported to have a 16-mile range. The missile being sold to China is
reported to have a range of 125 miles — over seven times farther than
the missiles sold to America.

Navy officials confirmed for WorldNetDaily that they are working with
American defense contractor Boeing McDonnell Douglas to extend the range
of the Zvezda MA-31 target missiles.

“Increasing the range of the MA-31 is an operational consideration
from a range safety standpoint,” according to an official statement from
the U.S. Navy Aerial Targets Program Office.

“Extending the operational capability by allowing the target to glide
longer prior to booster ignition is planned for demonstration in 2000.
This approach will allow more time for the launch aircraft to exit the
hazard area. Our plans for a longer range and more capable target is
planned to be a (future) competitive contract.”

Jane’s Defense Weekly reported that China is seeking to buy a second
batch of 40 Sukhoi Su-30MKK supersonic strike fighters to supplement its
initial order for 40 aircraft, which was concluded in August 1999. The
SU-30MKK sale is reported to include air-to-air missiles, laser-guided
bombs and large numbers of the Zvezda Kh-31P mod-2 supersonic cruise

The Russian air force currently operates the SU-30 against Chechen
rebel strongholds. Video images provided by Russian air force officials
to the Western television news media displayed SU-30 aircraft attacking
hidden rebel positions with laser-guided “smart” bombs.

The new arms sale, according to the source, will take place later
this month when Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Chi Haotian visits Moscow
to meet with new Russian leader Valdimir Putin.

U.S. Navy F-4 fighter fires Russian Zvezda MA-31 missile

While Chi is visiting in Moscow, the Chinese Army Deputy chief, Lt.
Gen. Xiong Guangkai, is also scheduled to visit Washington for two days
of military talks starting Jan. 24. Xiong’s visit is being portrayed by
the Clinton administration as an effort to revive military-to-military
contacts with the Chinese army.

U.S./Sino military contacts, including large-scale U.S. training for
the Chinese military, were halted last year after the U.S. bombed the
Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

Xiong has also threatened the United States with nuclear attack in
the past. In 1996, he made open statements reported in the
international press over the willingness of the United States to
exchange Taiwan for a major city such as Los Angeles.

At the same time Xiong threatened Los Angeles, the Chinese 2nd
artillery missile corps launched simulated nuclear missile strikes
against two Taiwanese port cities. The missile launches forced the
Clinton administration to move a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier into the
region as a military response.

WorldNetDaily first reported the planned visit of General Xiong in
an exclusive interview of author William Triplett

in December 1999. Triplett, who co-authored “Year of the Rat” and “Red
Dragon Rising” with Asia defense specialist Ed Timperlake, stated that
Chinese General Xiong would also visit President Clinton in the White

The White House has previously declared meetings with Chinese
military officers to be closed, offering no opportunities for the press
to ask questions or take photographs. However, a photograph of
President Clinton meeting with Gen. Zhang Wannian was published in
Triplett’s book “Red Dragon Rising” after being obtained from the
Chinese press.

Charles Smith is a national
security and defense reporter for WorldNetDaily.

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