News / Asia

Pakistani Buying of Chinese Arms Makes Beijing 5th Biggest Exporter

A Pakistani military exercise in Karachi March 5, 2013. Pakistan has become increasingly reliant on China as a weapons supplier in recent years.
A Pakistani military exercise in Karachi March 5, 2013. Pakistan has become increasingly reliant on China as a weapons supplier in recent years.
New research shows Pakistan's growing purchases of Chinese military hardware have helped Beijing become the world's fifth biggest exporter of conventional arms, overtaking Britain.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says Pakistan bought 55 percent of China's weapons exports in the years 2008 to 2012. Pakistan and China are longtime allies.

A Pakistani defense analyst says Islamabad's main purchases include Chinese tanks, fighter jets, patrol boats, guns, radars and other communications equipment.

In an interview with VOA, retired Pakistani general Talat Masoud says Islamabad uses Chinese technology to develop home-made weapons with the goal of becoming more self-sufficient. He says it is harder for Pakistan to secure such technology transfers from American and European sources.

"China is a more reliable partner at times of crisis because [Pakistan's] experience is that whenever there has been an escalation of tension with India, or there has been a crisis or a confrontation, the United States and European sources have sanctioned [Pakistani] weapons systems or suspended the transfer of equipment, even if the [Pakistani] contracts were there," said Masoud.

Masoud says Pakistan also has an interest in developing closer bonds with China because both nations perceive their neighbor India as a regional rival.

In its report published Monday, SIPRI says Chinese military exports in 2008 to 2012 jumped 162 percent compared with the previous five-year period. But it says China's share of the global weapons export market is relatively small, at 5 percent.

The United States and Russia remain the world's biggest military exporters, with market shares of 30 percent and 26 percent respectively, followed by Germany with 7 percent and France with 6 percent. But China's rise to fifth place marks the first change in the top five ranking in 20 years.

SIPRI says 8 percent of Chinese arms sales in the latest period went to Burma, another Chinese ally whose government has been fighting an ethnic Kachin rebel insurgency since 2011.

Burma buys Chinese hardware such as training aircraft and anti-ship missiles, but still relies on Russia as its main weapons supplier. The Burmese government has been under a Western arms embargo since its military predecessor crushed a pro-democracy uprising in 1988.

SIPRI arms transfer expert Mark Bromley told VOA that Beijing also is expanding weapons sales to new Chinese markets such as Algeria, Morocco and Venezuela. But he said China faces several obstacles to challenging the dominance of the world's top two military exporters.

"Unlike some of the other big exporters like Russia and the United States, China is very heavily dependent upon one buyer for a large proportion of its exports," said Bromley. "[Also,] there are certain key technologies, particularly aircraft engines, which China has not mastered to the extent of other countries in the top five. It is still reliant particularly on Russian technology in certain key areas. And the other thing to bear in mind is that certain big export markets, particularly India, are obviously closed to China because of [the situation of] China-India relations."

Bromley says China also is subject to U.S. and EU arms embargoes that limit its technological capabilities.

Beijing has been ramping up its military spending as it takes a more assertive stance toward maritime disputes with its Asian neighbors. SIPRI says China is the world's number-two importer of weapons behind India.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei responded to SIPRI's report by saying Beijing "always takes a responsible and cautious attitude toward arms exports" and follows three principles for such transfers. He said Chinese weapons sales must be justified by the recipient nation's self-defense needs, must not damage peace and security, and must not interfere in other countries' internal affairs.

Beijing does not release arms export figures. SIPRI said its study of global weapons transfers uses data from official sources and media reports.

Kyaw Thein Kha of VOA's Burmese service and Iftikhar Hussain of VOA's Deewa service contributed to this report.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
March 18, 2013 7:45 PM
President Obama keeps on providing billions of dollars of financial assistance to Pakistan so that Pakistan can buy more arms from China. In turn, Pakistan's ISI supply arms to Taliban to attack US forces in Afghanistan. Financial assistance to Pakistan is self inflicted suicide or murder of the US forces and good business for China.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid