• Far Eastern Affairs
  • 2005-03-31FEA-No. 001
  • Size: 62.9 Kbytes .
  • Pages:1-20.
  • Words: 9779

MILITARY AND TECHNICAL COLLABORATION BETWEEN RUSSIA AND CHINA: ITS CURRENT STATUS, PROBLEMS, AND OUTLOOK

Author: Alexander SHLYNDOV

Military and technical collaboration (MTC) holds one of the most important places within the structure of Russian-Chinese relations. This is because Russia and China have demonstrated major interest in developing close ties in this area.

For Russia's defense industry complex (DIC), the development of military and technical collaboration with China, one of the largest arms markets in the world, offers an exceptional opportunity not only to survive but to develop normally while continuing to invest minimal funds in research and development (R&D) to create new models of weapons and military hardware (WAMH) under the conditions of a sharp reduction in the government financing of this branch of industry and a catastrophic reduction in state defense orders for the Russian armed forces. Approximately one-fifth of all Russian arms exports go to China: in monetary terms, these totaled more than $5 billion in 2003. In some years, China's share goes as high as 40% to 50% of the overall volume of Russian WAMH sold abroad.1 According to composite estimates, China has on occasion bought up to $10 billion worth of Russian WAMH in a single year.2 China has therefore become a partner of strategic importance to Russia in the sphere of MTC.

Military and technical collaboration is of an extremely high political importance. Large-scale purchases of WAMH, even when permission is granted for its licensed production to begin in the country being given the technology, makes possible closer political, economic, and military ties between those who collaborate in MTC, making the importing country dependent on supplies of spare parts; the installation, servicing, and maintenance of production, operational, and repair infrastructures; and the training of WAMH specialists. It also obligates the importing country to the production (development) of WAMH, due to the need for updating arms and equipment in the future. This makes possible not only a more durable and long-term strengthening of the exporting country's position


Alexander Shlyndov, M. Sc. (Hist.), Senior Research Fellow, IFES RAS.

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