US President Barack Obama has proposed that Congress lifts a 21-year arms embargo against selling C-130 cargo aircraft to China.

The President has written a letter to the House and the Senate to lift the ban, emphasising it is in the national interest of the US.

If the proposal receives approval, the C-130 Hercules aircraft will become the first heavy military equipment that the US has exported to China since 1989.

In the mid-1980s, when China-US relations were good, the US sold the Chinese several S-70 helicopters, a model of the UH- 60 Blackhawk designed for civilian use.

The C-130 can take-off and land from unprepared runways, and is used for cargo and troop transport, medical evacuation, airborne assault, search and rescue, maritime patrol and aerial firefighting.