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Silk Road Arsenals – Part 1

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Silk Road Arsenals - Part 1

Written by Nikolay Novichkov; Originally appeared at VPK, translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront

China conquers the world with cheap weapons

State-of-the-art samples of Chinese military products (MP) presented to the public at the international salon “Airshow China 2018”, suggest that the strategy of the national defence industry development sets the pace to ensure the advance of the leading countries of the West and Russia.

Silk Road Arsenals - Part 1

Source: vpk-news.ru

Beijing’s policy of priority areas of the defence industry is aimed at strengthening the geopolitical potential of China and at seizing dominating positions in the global arms market. At the same time, the Chinese authorities are extremely reluctant to disclose information about military-technical cooperation (MTC) with partners. If we are talking about the military-technical cooperation with China, we are not lagging behind. The general phraseology of domestic press releases has long been verified, censored and copied to such an extent that it can be depressing, and any ideas are unlikely.

However, one should be aware of the actions of the Celestial Empire in the arms market. At least because Vladimir Putin drew attention to it at the meeting of the commission on the Russian Federation’s MTC with foreign countries held on November 6. “The significantly changing environment in which military equipment has to be traded requires the readjustment of conventional approaches and the development of a new comprehensive strategy of action for the foreseeable future. In short, in the sphere of the MTC, we have both serious achievements and understanding of the major challenges we face,” said the President.

Not for the sake of greed

The export of Chinese MP is unlikely to be linked only with obtaining revenues from the weapons sale. China’s defence industry has the world’s second largest national arms and military equipment (AME) market after the US. China’s defence industry has the second largest defence spending in the world after the US. This year for the first time it has reached $200 billion. In addition, due to the military sanctions imposed by the Western countries against Beijing in the late 80s, China’s defence industry enterprises do not face noticeable competition in the domestic market.

In the past, military exports to China have traditionally been in second place, with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) needs being a priority, but over the past decade, the sale of MP has played an important role in Beijing’s international policy to increase its influence in the world and in the most important regions. China’s desire to export military products, especially to developing countries, is a continuation of diplomacy aimed at strengthening relations both with states that are seen as strategic partners and with those that can provide economic, technological or political benefits.

For example, the growth of China’s and Pakistan’s MTC, the largest buyer of Chinese MP, is motivated, at least in part, by the need for Beijing to maintain a balance in the Asian region and to counterbalance India’s military build-up and economic recovery. In Africa, the majority of customers in the Celestial Empire have abundant natural resources, including oil, gas and coal, or important trade routes.

In developing countries with generally limited funds for upgrading MP, high profits are problematic in the AME markets. That is why the Chinese approach to export is based on sale of an affordable product range.

And the strategy for the expanding presence in these markets is closely linked to the “One Belt, One Road” initiative. It provides for the strengthening of China’s political and economic ties with about 70 developing countries in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, which account for up to 40 percent of the world GDP.

Silk Road Arsenals - Part 1

Source: vpk-news.ru

However, “One Belt, One Road” is not just about economics. It is increasingly clear that Beijing views this initiative as a means of increasing strategic and military influence and achieving certain political advantages.

That logic is reflected in the establishment in 2017 of a military base in Djibouti, a key area in the Horn of Africa, the decision to develop the port of Gwadar in Pakistan and similar facilities in Sri Lanka. These countries are considered China’s strategic allies.

In their efforts to promote the “One Belt”, the Chinese defence industry enterprises play an important supporting role. Working alone or in partnership, they can provide customers with military and commercial technologies, products, know-how, and industrial assistance for security and infrastructure development. For example, Norinko Corporation, one of the PCR’s largest defence companies specialising in air defence for the Army, also has capabilities in such areas as mining, commercial equipment, construction vehicles, civilian explosives and opto-electronic products. This provides it with a strong position in the implementation of defence projects and in business in general, which in turn brings it closer to the tasks to be solved as “One Belt – One Road”.

Directions of the main strike

Data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) show that China’s share of the global arms market is increasing consistently every five years, from two percent in 2003-2007 to five percent in 2008-2012 and six percent in 2013-2017. China has become the fastest growing military exporter in the world. By comparison, the market share held by the two largest AME sellers, the US and Russia, declined slightly over the same period. The quota of other leading players, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, remained relatively low. Apart from the Celestial Empire, only Israel and South Korea managed to increase their presence on the AME market over the last two decades.

Silk Road Arsenals - Part 1

Source: vpk-news.ru

The growth in the number of customers for Chinese MP looks even more impressive. In the 90s, according to SIPRI, China supplied explosives to about 30 countries, during the 2000s, already to 44 countries, and between 2010 and 2017, almost to 60 countries.

Companies from the Celestial Empire successfully sell MP to their Asian neighbours, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and even to some Eastern European countries. Pakistan has been the largest customer in the past 15 years, followed by Bangladesh, Myanmar, Iran, Venezuela, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Tanzania and Sri Lanka. Chinese arms importers include Belarus and Slovakia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Cameroon, Nigeria and Peru.

China’s military exports to South Asia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan, are evidence of the importance that Beijing places on the region. It is implementing a strategy to make India so concerned about its neighbours that New Delhi would not have the opportunity, if not the resources, to counterbalance China’s growing regional influence and military might.

Silk Road Arsenals - Part 1

Source: vpk-news.ru

The strategy also applies to commercial sectors supported by the “Pearl Thread” programme. This includes investment in regional ports infrastructure, to exclude the Indians.

Another region important for China is South East Asia. Exports in this direction, coupled with growing investments in commercial areas, reflect Beijing’s efforts to expand its influence and defend its territorial requirements in the South China Sea.

The exports growth to Southeast Asia in recent years, especially the sale of large naval platforms to Thailand and Malaysia, and various combat systems to Indonesia, confirms the fact that for these buyers it is very important to have close strategic relationship with China, and the Chinese MP are also very attractive in terms of “cost-benefit”.

There is a strategic expansion of China in Africa, representing another priority region for the “One Belt – One Road” initiative. According to the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND), defence industry enterprises have established links with 45 of the 54 African countries. However, SASTIND would like to further expand this cooperation in the coming years in order to support the military development of the Black Sea states and build their strategic relationship with China.

Silk Road Arsenals - Part 1

Source: Richard YIR

Similar projects are under way in Latin America and the Middle East with the expansion of exports of MP. They are supported by investment, trade and industrial participation in various commercial sectors, including transport, energy, construction and infrastructure.

The volume of interaction with the participants of “One Belt” can be judged by the data of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). Exports reached a record of 96.7 billion yuan ($14.1 billion) in 2017, equivalent to 24 percent of the corporation’s total annual revenue. This success is closely linked to the expansion of the corporation’s international activities, which, among other things, has built 65 facilities in 28 countries that are considered vital for the “One Belt – One Road” project.

Nikolay Novichkov, Candidate of Technical Sciences (TASS Information and Analytical Department)

Silk Road Arsenals – Part 2

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  • jako

    If Russia or China have made F-35 with the the same shortcomings, flaws, deficiencies for same huge some of money and same huge maintenance expenses US & West would laugh their heads of and declare F-35 to be the worst fighter jet ever built in history of aviation.

    But since US are Masters of propaganda movies and all other MSM propaganda the F-35 is excellent fighter jet.
    The same “dominance” goes for all other US weapons.

    • Sinbad2

      But they do believe their own BS.

  • occupybacon

    Like everything China makes: a Humvee just more ugly

    • Sinbad2

      And more reliable.

      • occupybacon

        Chinese stuff is the most reliable

        • Zionism = EVIL

          Yes, China has made huge improvements in manufacturing and is spending a lot on R&D. The quality of Chinese made cars like Great Wall, Haval, MG etc has improved a lot and they cost half of any western equivalent. In aerospace the Chinese are almost catching up with the west and are ahead of Russia now. The reliability of any weapons system is tested on the battlefield and so far modern Chinese weapons have been involved in actual combat anywhere.

          • occupybacon

            I know about drones that are tested against Houtis in Yemen, do you have another example of Chinese tested weapons in actual conflicts?

          • Zionism = EVIL

            Not recently, the Pakis used the Chinese T-59 a clone of Russian T-55 in their last lost war against India and also the F-6 Mig 19 clone, both miserable failures. Iran did not get the F-7 Air-guard (Mig 21 clone) until the Iraq-Iran war was over and had a lot teething problems as they lacked all weather radar and the airframe was unstable, thus labelled the flying coffins. The Burmese have used Chinese APC clones against the Karin rebels and not a very good outcome. I do not know of any major use of Chinese planes or tanks in a recent conflict.

          • occupybacon

            Ohh.. and I was expecting a pro argument for the Chinese

          • Zionism = EVIL

            I post objective FACTS and emotional diatribe.

          • Nosferatu

            While i agree with you on the technology. You got it wrong on space. China is not ahead of Russia in aerospace. The sole number of starts does not say about the aerospace advancemnt in general. Also China is no catching up with the west, China has surpassed the west. The real positions are as follows: Russia – the aerospace leader in technology and reliability, China the second in aerospace, the west is actualy behind the other two in technology and engines and all the major western achievements in space such as Moon landing or Mars manles drone landings were faked in holywood style. The west can only go to low orbit using russian engines…

          • occupybacon

            Yeah, from thousands of people working on NASA nobody came out saying it was fake, guess they are all either reptilians or NASA doesn’t even exist, it’s a Hollywood invention

          • Nosferatu

            And you dont see why would they not tell? BTW it was done the way that the control center actually thought they are controling a real mission. Armstrong refused to swear on Bible that he stood on the Moon. Plus there is way too many mistakes in the Moon footage. Plus there is this issue with the space race. Soviets were far ahead in the space race in 60s and then suddenly USA came with a Moon landing out of nowhere after a series of failed rocket starts. And there is also this issue with technology. Compare curent technology with the one from 60s. They could go to the Moon then but cant go anywhere near right now? After how many years will it start to be akward or obvious? Its been 50 years now and they can not repeat it? I think it started to be akward 20 years ago…….

          • occupybacon

            After this gem: “it was done the way that the control center actually thought they are controling a real mission.” why would someone need any more arguments?

          • Nosferatu

            why would it be faked in any other way? The less people know the better….

          • occupybacon

            You know the memes when two brothers are racing on console and the little brother ask the bigger brother why there is a single car on the screen? You think the scientists are 5 yo kids. That’s the level of your retardation.

          • Nosferatu

            You did not bring any point. You did not refute any of my points. You are only insulting me. That means you dont have any real points. Therefore i consider my self as a winner of this discussion and a declare Moon landings as fake.

          • occupybacon

            Also you can note that you won the race on the console.

          • Nosferatu

            Not a single point again………

          • occupybacon

            You forgot to proclaim yourself winner.

      • Zionism = EVIL

        and cheaper by half and hopefully easy to maintain.

  • Prince Teutonic

    It’s perfect for those poor African countries. Better then sticks and arrows while cheap enough…

  • Zionism = EVIL

    Looks like the PRC has made quantum leap in the quality of its weapons manufacturing and military technology. Just a few years ago they were producing low grade Russian stuff, like the flying coffins Chengdu F-7 (MIG 21 copy) and then the devious greedy Jews sold them designs of F-16 (Lavi) which turned into a rather quirky J-10, but since then there has been a remarkable improvement in Chinese quality. By sheer dint of size and manufacturing capacity China could defeat the Americunts in any conventional or nuclear war.