Beijing: China's military today skirted questions about the sale of its latest stealth fighter planes to Pakistan, days after a senior Pakistani minister said a proposal was under discussion with Beijing.
Asked for his reaction to Pakistan minister for Defence Production, Rana Tanveer Hussain's comments on Saturday, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman, Geng Yansheng told a media briefing here that a number of Chinese aircraft were displayed at the recently held air show in China's city of Zhuhai.
"If you want to know more about them, please refer to relevant defense industry department", he said.
Hussain was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper that Pakistan wants to buy the fourth generation stealth fighter to boost its defence capability.
The matter was being discussed with Chinese authorities, he said.
"It is for the first time that a senior government functionary has confirmed talks with China over purchase of the longer-range stealth aircraft - an issue that has been a subject of speculation in defence circles since the 10th edition of the Zhuhai Air Show (China) held earlier this month, when the aircraft was unveiled," the paper reported.
The Jane's Defence Weekly also quoted an unnamed Pakistani official as saying that the Pakistan Air Force was in talks with China to buy 30 to 40 of the new fighter aircraft Shenyang FC-31 fighters.
FC-31 being developed by China primarily for the export market and reportedly several countries are interested in the aircraft believed to be comparable to US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
What particularly interests the PAF is that FC-31 prototype (J-31) and JF-17 use the same Russian Klimov RD-93 engines.
Pakistan is increasingly relying on China as a reliable source for its defence procurements.
Hussain said that Pakistan was also interested in Chinese attack helicopter Z-10.
China and Pakistan had earlier co-produced JF-17 Thunder. Pakistan has been eagerly trying to market this fighter aircraft.
"We have nearly confirmed orders from seven countries for JF-17," the minister said.
Pakistan, which is at present producing Block-2 of JF-17 at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra is eyeing orders from countries in the Middle East and Africa.
"The PAF has a requirement of 250 aircraft, but now we have decided that we'll sell some of the JF-17 Block-2 to international buyers besides fulfilling our local demand," he added.