TEL AVIV - In an official May 25 visit to Israel, the commander of the Chinese Navy met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his Israeli counterpart, Rear Adm. Eliezer Marom.
Barak's office provided no other details of the meeting with Adm. Wu Shengli of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), although an MoD source insisted the visit did not herald changes in Israel's marginal defense trade ties with Beijing, which focus on dual-use capabilities.
Israel-Chinese defense trade ties have essentially been subject to a de facto U.S. veto following the crisis of confidence early in the administration of former President George W. Bush over Israeli technology transfers to a country deemed by Washington as a strategic competitor, if not adversary.
After forcing Israel to cancel a $1 billion-plus deal for Phalcon aerial early warning and control planes and a subsequent period of estrangement pertaining to a later, unreported sale of drones, Israel's MoD committed to consult with Washington on any transfers that could pose an eventual threat to U.S. forces or its allies.
"Our policy of very close consultations with our American friends remains unchanged," the MoD source said. He refused to elaborate on the purpose of Wu's visit or the sites included in the itinerary.
As Barak was hosting Wu at MoD headquarters in Tel Aviv, a former U.S. Air Force chief of staff was speaking just across town.
At the Fisher Institute's annual conference on air power, retired Gen. Michael Moseley warned of "the very high likelihood" that U.S. forces would have to face off against Chinese or Russian technology in future conflicts. He recalled his response to a question once posed to him by former President Bush.
"He asked about the probability of the U.S. having to fight a future war with China or Russia, and my reply was 'near zero' because I had full confidence in the ability of our political leaders to craft the policies and take the decisions needed to prevent such wars," Moseley said.
In contrast, the former U.S. Air Force chief assessed the probability "at near 100 percent… that my son or my son-in-law will have to engage those [Chinese or Russian] systems."