News / Asia

    China Arms Exports Double as Regional Tensions Mount

    FILE - Paramilitary policemen and members of a gun salute team fire cannons during a training session for a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II, at a military base in Beijing, China. China is now the world’s third largest arms exporter behind the U.S. and Russia, and the country accounted for nearly six percent of arms exports between 2011 and 2015.
    FILE - Paramilitary policemen and members of a gun salute team fire cannons during a training session for a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II, at a military base in Beijing, China. China is now the world’s third largest arms exporter behind the U.S. and Russia, and the country accounted for nearly six percent of arms exports between 2011 and 2015.

    A research group says China’s arms exports have almost doubled in five years as the country has moved to become a major player in the global industry.

    Chinese exports of major arms grew by 88 percent between 2011 and 2015, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

    “China is actively pushing for exports. A lot of the exports are going to countries where China has had good relations for a long time, so there’s also a strategic incentive for China to supply weapons. Pakistan for example, Bangladesh, Myanmar,” said Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher with the institute.

    China is now the world’s third largest arms exporter behind the U.S. and Russia, and the country accounted for nearly six percent of arms exports between 2011 and 2015.

    FILE - A Russian "TOS-1 Buratino" multiple rocket launcher fires during the "Russia Arms Expo 2013" 9th international exhibition of arms, military equipment and ammunition, in the Urals city of Nizhny Tagil. The U.S. and Russia’s weapons exports grew by 27 and 28 percent respectively during the period.
    FILE - A Russian "TOS-1 Buratino" multiple rocket launcher fires during the "Russia Arms Expo 2013" 9th international exhibition of arms, military equipment and ammunition, in the Urals city of Nizhny Tagil. The U.S. and Russia’s weapons exports grew by 27 and 28 percent respectively during the period.

    The U.S. and Russia’s weapons exports grew by 27 and 28 percent respectively during the same period, although both countries are still far ahead of China and the rest of the world in total sales.

    Imports of arms to China fell 25 percent compared with the previous five-year period, indicating that China now has the technological capability and know how to produce many of its own weapons.

    Wezeman said territorial disputes and the growing modernization of China’s military may be spurring an arms race in Asia. China’s military budget was up 10 percent from the year before, to more than $141 billion.

    “You can see a general arms build-up in Asia. You can see countries reacting to what neighbors are doing, and a strong driver for this is Chinese military modernization, expanding Chinese capabilities, linked to a quite assertive Chinese policy,” he said.

    Vietnam jumped from 43rd place to become the eighth-largest arms importer from 2011 to 2015. The country now accounts for roughly 3 percent of world-wide arms purchases during that period. India imported 14 percent of globally traded arms during that time period.

    Tensions rising across Asia

    Gregory Poling is the director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and a fellow with the Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asia Studies at CSIS. Poling said China's recent actions in the South China Sea are raising tensions throughout Southeast Asia.

    “More immediately this is clearly destabilizing the wider region, for states like Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, would much rather be focused on economic development and boosting regional architecture," Poling said. "Instead they’re caught in what they see as an almost existential need to boost their militaries, to purchase arms, to divert budgets towards modernization in ways that they would rather not but they’re facing a Beijing that they see as an increasing security threat.”

    Five trillion dollars in global trade passes through the waterway every year, and the sea is thought to be rich in oil and gas reserves.

    FILE - This aerial photo taken through a glass window of a military plane shows China's alleged on-going reclamation of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, May 11, 2015.
    FILE - This aerial photo taken through a glass window of a military plane shows China's alleged on-going reclamation of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, May 11, 2015.

    Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia and the director of the China Power Project at CSIS, said while territorial disputes may boost arms sales in Asia, China's neighbors' won't be able to keep up with the pace of China's military modernization.

    “They want to have other choices rather than feeling that they simply have to accommodate to China, and they don’t have enough capability, even with their increased weapons spending and procurements, no country on China’s border is going to be able to keep up with China," Glaser said. "Look at its defense spending. So countries are going to have to find more creative ways. They can certainly enhance their own capabilities.”

    Collaboration among China’s neighbors has already increased to protect their territorial claims. Earlier this month Vietnam announced it will allow India to set up a satellite tracking center in southern Vietnam that will provide it with access to overhead images of the South China Sea. 

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Deni
    March 13, 2016 8:10 AM
    If Indonesia sees Beijing as an increasing security threat, why would Indonesia arms itself with Chinese weaponry? The weapons include carrier-killer antiship missiles and air to air missiles capable of shooting down F/A-18. So far, America has hard time selling weapons to Indonesia. So far, only 4 of 8 Apache attack helicopters contract was received years ago. What happens to the remaining 4? Has the contract been canceled? A shame that Sumitro Foundation is not based in Indonesia anymore, otherwise it will know Indonesian political condition better.

    by: American Eskimo from: San Jose, USA
    February 29, 2016 4:38 PM
    When China was weak and the West came to her shores with gunboats and the humiliation is still fresh. Today, with BOMBers flyover and GUNboats sail by, China build-up her military to prevent another humiliation.......never again!
    For thousands of years, China and her neighbors had conflicts and always worked them out among themselves; there are conflicts now and will work them out as in past history.
    There is this country from the far end of the Pacific wishing to maintain her hegemony in Asia by agitating the tension to stir up wars, to create refugees and destructions much like she does worldwide.
    There will be NO tension, if the agitator stops the provocation. China and her neighbors will work out the current conflicts peacefully among themselves.
    .

    by: william li from: canada
    February 29, 2016 12:34 PM
    the best way to avoid a war is to make yourself stronger. China clearly understand it.
    "Defeat your enemy without fighting one bullet" the old Chinese saying.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    February 29, 2016 8:21 AM
    No matter what the military experts say, (it would be militarily impossible), for any super power (the US, Russia, or China) to ever fight a conventional war against any one of them, [because it'd be impossible] to assemble an army large enough and transport it with the heavy weapons, air and sea power that would be required to launch an attack on any of the others? .. It's impossible? .. Check the facts, and ignore the propaganda?

    That's why the US, Russia ad China have stockpiled nuclear weapons, knowing all their wars will be (proxy wars) fought in other countries where they themselves won't fight head to head in the future? .. think about it? .. That's why the sell weapons to friends and allies? .. The next supper power war, will be a (proxy war) fought in some other country, like Syria, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen?
    In Response

    by: Norman from: Austraila
    March 08, 2016 8:09 PM
    You know the Old Saying .
    It is always the Little Fish 'that Suffer..
    Greed is the Killer of everything.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora