BEIJING (AFP) - China has agreed to buy two dozen fighter jets and four submarines from Russia, state media reported Monday, the country’s first large-scale weapons technology purchases from Moscow in a decade.

The agreement to buy the 24 Su-35 fighters and four Lada-class submarines was signed just before President Xi Jinping’s weekend visit to Russia, said the People’s Daily, the Communist Party organ, citing state television.

The report, which did not give a value for the purchases, said it was the first time in 10 years China had bought “large military technological equipment” from Russia. The deal comes as Beijing expands its military reach - it commissioned its first aircraft carrier last year - and is embroiled in a bitter territorial row with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Two of the submarines will be built in Russia, with the other two to be built in China. “The Su-35 fighters can effectively reduce pressure on China’s air defence before Chinese-made stealth fighters come online,” the report said.

China and Russia are expected to co-operate further in developing military technology, the report said, including that for S-400 long-range anti-aircraft missiles, 117S large thrust engines, IL-476 large transport aircraft and IL-78 aerial tankers.