Bolivia to buy Chinese jets for drug war

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales denied Oct. 10 that his government is engaged in a regional arms race, insisting the purchase of six Chinese military jets is only for drug enforcement. “This purchase of aircraft does not threaten anyone, they’re not for war,” Morales said at a ceremony commemorating the 52nd anniversary of the Bolivian Air Force. “The aircraft purchase is aimed at the fight against drug trafficking and not any arms race.”

Bolivia plans to buy the Chinese K-8 Karakorum jets at a cost of $57.8 million after a similar order of Czech planes was blocked by the US. Morales last year tried to buy six L-159 ALCA light combat aircraft, made with US components, from the Czech Republic for $58 million, but disclosed in July that Washington had vetoed the sale. (AFP, Oct. 11)

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