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Israel Calls Off China Radar Sale 

The Associated Press

Jul 12 2000 10:40AM ET

THURMONT, Md. (AP) - Israel informed the United States on Wednesday it was calling off its planned sale of an advanced airborne warning system to China.

The move was taken at the behest of the United States and disclosed here by Israel's spokesman, Gadi Baltiansky, on the sidelines of President Clinton's Mideast summit talks.

With the Clinton administration eager to stop the deal, there were reports last week Israel would modify arrangements by proceeding with the transaction through a third country.

But Baltiansky told The Associated Press the deal was off in all forms.

The United States had insisted that Israel scrap the sale of the plane, called PHALCON, pointing to tensions between China and Taiwan and expressing concern that China could use the plane to track American planes should hostilities erupt.

In Congress, representatives from both parties had threatened to cut U.S. aid to Israel if the deal went through.

The PHALCON deal had included an option for China to buy up to four more of the spy planes.

Referring to U.S. efforts to derail the deal, Baltiansky said: ``We are aware of American concern on this issue.''

He said ``there is no link between this and the summit,'' turning aside any suggestion Israel had yielded on the radar in order to improve prospects for an agreement with the Palestinians.

Baltiansky did not rule out a possibly modified sale in the future.

``If circumstances change,'' he said, ``we may consider it again.'' He did not elaborate.

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