Update: 04 Jul 2021 08:32 STI
Beijing [China], July 4 (ANI): As China’s global stature grew, many expected its arms exports to reflect its place on the world stage. Yet after decades of testing, that just didn’t happen.
Last month’s confrontation with the Philippines, where Chinese warships entered Philippine waters without permission, may indicate the crux of the matter – and this failure may well illustrate a key weakness for China. Essentially, few people want to associate with Beijing, Foreign Policy reported.
Richard Aboulafia, writing in Foreign Policy, said stylish guns mean a lot less if you don’t have friends and that’s why the world doesn’t want fighter jets from Beijing.
China has made great strides in improving its state-owned aerospace technology base, especially in the military field. It made planes like the J-10, J-10C, FC-31, etc. For decades, China’s growth as an export powerhouse for fighter jets seemed inevitable.
In April 1997, Interavia, a once influential trade magazine, predicted that “China on the verge of overtaking Russia” and that Beijing “would far overtake Russia in about a decade as a supplier of fighter jets to the world. in development “.
Nine years later, Aviation Week & Space Technology estimated that “China could become the low-cost supplier of fighter aircraft packages to the export market,” Foreign Policy reported.
The figures clearly show that nothing like this happened, writes Aboulafia. Between 2000 and 2020, China exported just $ 7.2 billion in military planes, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms Transfer Database.
Meanwhile, the United States remained in the lead, exporting $ 99.6 billion, and Russia remained in second place with $ 61.5 billion. Even France’s aircraft exports doubled compared to China’s, to $ 14.7 billion. And there were few signs of bullish momentum for China, Foreign Policy reported.
Chinese fighters have also not stepped out of their relatively small core market. In the 1990s, their biggest customers were Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, North Korea and a few African countries. It remains on the list today.
A report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies points out that, since 2010, 63.4% of China’s conventional arms sales have gone to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, Foreign Policy reported.
The best explanation for this failure is China’s foreign policy. The Philippines is a prime example of why China’s hunter export ambitions have stalled, Aboulafia says.
For five years, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been trying to drive the country away from the United States to China. Moreover, until a few years ago the country had never bought a new fighter plane – the limited defense budget could only afford pocket planes from the United States.
The Philippines is cash-strapped, unaligned and eager to assert a pro-Chinese path: the perfect recipe for a breakthrough in the Chinese fighter jet export market in a key regional country, Aboulafia said.
But, then also China could not sell any of its planes. Tensions between the two South China Sea countries escalated last month, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. tweeted: a friend; not to spawn a Chinese province. “
Instead, the Philippines has found another route for its combat aircraft needs. In 2015, it won its first FA-50s from Korea Aerospace Industries.
It’s not just the Philippines. China’s other neighbors dislike China, with predictable ramifications for sales of fighter jets. India, a longtime customer of Russian fighters with a strong interest in sourcing from multiple countries, is also expected to be a potential customer of the J-10, but instead faces yet another nasty border confrontation with China in the l ‘Himalayas,’ Aboulafia wrote.
India is turning more and more to Western countries for its military equipment and will not even consider China, whose potential adversary status excludes it as an arms supplier. Ditto for Vietnam, whose maritime dispute with China is worsening. Malaysia and Indonesia are also too suspicious of Beijing’s ambitions to consider acquiring a Chinese hunter, Foreign Policy reported.
This failure model speaks of more than just a problem with pointy elbows. First, it shows a lack of commercial soft power. Hunter sales often involve a business relationship, as they tend to include trade offsets – or economic sweeteners such as market access or technology transfer that are designed to alleviate some of the expense of a packet of hunter. ‘weapons, explains Aboulafia.
But China’s relatively closed economic system means that potential customers with export-oriented economies have little to gain, as China wants to be a globally dominant export manufacturer and certainly does not want to increase its consumption of imported manufactured products.
He has little interest in preserving the status quo in Asia, little qualms about territorial expansion and virtually no record of supporting allies in times of crisis, Aboulafia wrote.
The most important conclusion from all of this is that building good planes and other weapons won’t help your defense industry – or improve your strategic power – if you don’t have friends. (ANI)