Moscow has quietly resumed sales of advanced arms technology to Beijing in a move that signals geopolitics and economics are trumping concerns about Chinese cloning of Russian weapons.
Chinese and Russian officials attending the Zhuhai air show this week jointly announced that the first batch of four advanced Su-35 fighters would be delivered to Beijing later this year.
We are now fulfilling the contract signed last November, said Vladimir Drozhzhov, deputy director of the Federal Service for Military Technical Co-operation, noting that China had signed an agreement to protect Russia’s intellectual property.
Chinese pilots are training in Russia and will fly the aircraft back to China, according to Russian news reports.
The $2bn deal for 24 jets is expected to be completed in three years.
While China unveiled its own advanced stealth fighter this week, big deployments of the aircraft are not expected for several years.
China is the world’s second-biggest military spender, with a $215bn budget last year, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
It was the third-biggest importer of arms between 2011 and 2015, while Russia was the second-biggest exporter.
The Su-35 deal and a 2014 agreement to sell Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile, which could arrive in China by 2018, amounts to a lifting of an informal ban on selling advanced systems to Beijing in place since roughly 2004.
Overall, the two countries have $8bn in contracts, according to Mr Drozhzhov.
Experts say Russian technology will boost China’s air defence capability significantly, as Beijing’s relations with the US sour over maritime disputes in the Pacific.
Given Russia’s current practice of doing whatever it can to complicate the strategic planning of the US and its allies, it is not surprising that Russia would be prepared to release some of its advanced weaponry to China, said Allan Behm, a security analyst in Canberra and former planner for the Australian defence department.
关键词：中国 俄罗斯 武器 战 先进