BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Foreign Ministry dismissed concerns about Turkey’s decision to co-produce a missile defense system with a Chinese firm, saying on Tuesday that the United States and others were needlessly politicizing a purely commercial deal.
Both the United States and NATO have expressed worry about the $3.4 billion deal, saying the system would not be compatible with those of Turkey’s other allies.
Some NATO diplomats have also said integrating a Chinese system into NATO’s defenses would raise cyber-security concerns and issues about NATO swapping technical data with a Chinese firm.
But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said there was nothing to worry about, especially as China had very strict rules on arms exports to ensure no impact on regional or global peace and stability.
“The cooperation between the Chinese firm and Turkey is normal military cooperation between the two countries,” she told a daily news briefing in Beijing.
“We hope that all relevant parties can objectively and rationally view this cooperation, and should not politicize normal commercial competition.”
Turkey has said it is likely to sign the deal, though its decision is not yet final.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry said last month it favored China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp’s (CPMIEC) FD-2000 missile defense system over more expensive rival systems from Russian, U.S. and European firms.
The United States announced sanctions on CPMIEC in February for violations of the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act.
Turkey has said the selection was not politically motivated, and that the Chinese offer met Turkey’s main demands of price and the ability to place much of the production in Turkey.
For China, the deal would be a breakthrough in its bid to become a supplier of advanced weapons.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ron Popeski