Block Sale of China Arms to Arabs, Rabin Asks U.S.
Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin today asked for U.S. help in blocking Chinese missile sales to Arab countries, U.S. officials said.
Rabin, here for talks with President Reagan and congressional and Jewish leaders, discussed the proliferation of missile technology in the Middle East with Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci.
Rabin and Carlucci planned to sign an agreement to split the costs of developing a new Israeli-built Arrow missile, an anti-tactical ballistic missile.
U.S. and Israeli officials said China has been offering to sell its sophisticated M-9 ballistic missile to Syria and other Arab countries in the Middle East.
U.S. officials said that China’s demand for cash payments has kept it from making a firm sale.
Washington put pressure on China earlier this year to halt sales of its Silkworm anti-ship missiles to Iran and received assurances that they would cease. There have been unconfirmed reports recently that Iran has received new Silkworms.
But Israel, lacking any influence with China, hopes that the United States can dissuade Beijing from its missile sales efforts. The Reagan Administration is already on record opposing missile shipments to the region.
During his talks with U.S. leaders, the gruff 66-year-old Rabin is expected to get an earful of criticism over the killing of Palestinians by Israeli troops.
More than 220 Palestinians and four Israelis have died in the uprising against Israel’s 21-year rule over the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Two weeks ago, Rabin drew a rare State Department rebuke for telling Israel’s Cabinet that civilians were free to shoot Palestinians wielding firebombs.
Rabin has vowed to fight the unrest with “might, power and beatings” but has also appealed for a political solution. His stance has won support among many Israelis.