(MENAFN- AzerNews) Germany on Saturday asked China to stop recruiting former
Luftwaffe pilots to train its own air force, fearing they could
reveal NATO secrets, Azernews report, citing Al Arabiya.
“I raised the question of Germany air force pilots who have
apparently been recruited to train (Chinese) pilots,” Defense
Minister Boris Pistorius told reporters.
He was speaking after meeting his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu
on the margins of a defense and security conference in
“I indicated clearly that I expected this practice to cease
immediately and told him he probably wouldn't be very pleased
either if I tried to do the same thing,” Pistorius added.
Li“didn't deny it but downplayed its importance,” he continued,
according to a ministry readout of his comments to the press.
German weekly Der Spiegel and public TV channel ZDF reported on
Friday that several former air force pilots had been employed by
China in recent years to train its own pilots.
Their salaries were apparently paid via shell companies in the
Seychelles, the media said.
The matter is of deep concern to the parliamentary committee
overseeing the German secret services, they reported.
“We are worried that military personnel who have previously
worked for the German state could be in jobs that could lead them
to betray state secrets,” the head of the parliamentary committee
The German pilots in question flew Eurofighter fighter jets and
took part in NATO exercises.
Berlin fears that secrets concerning interventions and tactics
used by the transatlantic military alliance could be revealed to
ZDF said the defense ministry planned to launch an inquiry.
Similar cases have surfaced in Britain and the United States in
They come at a time of heightened tensions between China and
China claims self-ruled democratic Taiwan as its territory and
has vowed to take it one day -- by force if necessary.
Since 2016, Beijing has ramped up air and sea incursions around
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