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When it comes to arms, what the Chinese want to buy from the US and what they can afford may be two different things. High on the shopping list: armor- piercing antitank rounds. Even a single such shell can wreak havoc once it penetrates a tank because of multiple ricochets, and these rounds are said to be capable of penetrating any armor currently used by Soviet tanks. The Chinese also are interested in sophisticated avionics and other equipment to be used on the F-8 fighter plane they have developed.

But the price for the latter is up to $10 million per plane. And there is some doubt as to how much of this advanced gadgetry their budget wi ll allow.m

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