Ron Matthews of Cranfield University and the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom and Xiaojuan Ping of the National University of Singapore have written a piece in East Asia Forum discussing China’s arms exports. Here’s what they say:
- China is now the third-largest arms exporter in the world, overtaking Germany, France, and the United Kingdom since 2012 to become second to only Russia and the U.S.
- China has quickly increased the number of countries to which it exports to 55, spanning Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.
- China is quickly upgrading the quality of weapons it makes and exports. Only a decade ago, most Chinese weapons were known for being holdovers from old Soviet designs. That is no longer true.
- China’s drone designs are now “credible and competitive,” as are their anti-ship cruise missiles. Better designs have led to more sales in upper-middle-income countries.
- China is selling its drones at a 10-20 percent discount compared with comparable U.S. models.
- The “end-game” of China’s new arms sales patterns is “longer-term geopolitical and strategic influence.” China knows that many states buy Chinese arms to reduce their reliance on Russian or American imports, which can “reduce strategic vulnerability to arms embargoes.”
- India’s neighbors — Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Myanmar — have all upped their purchases of China’s arms, and in all likelihood China is not enabling this just for profit, particularly with the discounts on drones.
CNBC reports that India is “expected to purchase two dozen unarmed drones from the United States to monitor growing Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean.” The $3 billion purchase was authorized by the U.S. in June, but final approval is still being negotiated.
See more recent reporting on Chinese military developments:
- China’s homegrown stealth fighter jet is now in service / Fortune
- Malaysia to get new China security equipment / The Diplomat (paywall)
- China powers up new radar tech to unmask stealth fighters / SCMP
- With the D3000, China enters the robotic warship arms race / Popular Science
Protesters in Hong Kong demand full democracy on ‘Occupy’ anniversary / Reuters
Opinion: Prison is an inevitable part of Hong Kong’s exhausting path to democracy / The Guardian
The first in a series by Joshua Wong that the Guardian plans to publish.
Chinese military features Hong Kong in videos ‘to lure young recruits’ / SCMP
China tells North Korean firms to close as part of UN sanctions / Bloomberg
No, North Korea isn’t dependent on Russia and China for its rocket fuel / The Diplomat (paywall)
China insists coal imports do not breach North Korea nuclear sanctions / SCMP
South Korea expects more provocative acts by North Korea in mid-October / Reuters
Preparations for 19th Party Congress
Leaving nothing to chance, China increases security, social control before Congress / Reuters
China steps up security on North Korea, India, Myanmar borders / SCMP