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Peru army plans arms purchase, tests Chinese tanks

In this photo released by Andina Agency, soldiers wait on their tanks before a AP – In this photo released by Andina Agency, soldiers wait on their tanks before a military parade in Lima, …

LIMA, Peru – Peru's military is close to a deal to buy tanks from China, the defense minister said Tuesday.

Rafael Rey told The Associated Press that the army is testing MBT-2000 tanks brought from China, but wants a better-equipped model of the tank. Peru showed the tanks in a parade on Tuesday.

Rey didn't say how many tanks Peru would buy. The Lima newspaper La Republica reported that it plans to buy 80 to 120 tanks and has evaluated Chinese, German, Russian, Ukrainian and Polish models.

The defense minister later told RPP radio that Peru is also planning to look at navy and air force purchases as well.

A military commission recommended that Peru buy Brazilian Super Tucano fighter planes. "The are very simple to operate but have advanced technology," Rey said.

Peru President Alan Garcia has pushed for a disarmament pact in South America as weapons purchases in Venezuela, Brazil and Chile and a U.S. military expansion in Colombia fuels a budding arms race.