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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More