Research Report


Evan S. Medeiros
Bates Gill
Copyright Date: Aug. 1, 2000
Pages: 109
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. v-v)

    Global arms proliferation continues to be a key concern for the United States, particularly the export role of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Clearly, the PRC is a key player in the world’s arms bazaar. Although China experienced a significant decline in its arms exports in the 1990s (down from the boom times of the 1980s), the PRC provides a significant array of lethal weapons and sensitive defense technologies to states around the world. These exports provide an invaluable means by which to assess the progress and performance of China’s military-industrial complex. Moreover, these products may represent the very...

  2. (pp. 1-21)

    Beginning in the mid to late 1980s, Chinese arms transfers increasingly became an issue of concern for U.S. policymakers. Of greatest concern were China’s exports of particular types of weapons (especially ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and nuclear-related transfers) to particular regimes (such as Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria). Starting in the late years of the Reagan Administration, these concerns and the ensuing confrontations with the Chinese have formed the foundation for reoccurring and contentious Sino-U.S. discussions over arms exports and nonproliferation.

    A brief review of the historical context to Chinese arms transfers will provide a greater...

  3. (pp. 23-71)

    China’s official policies, its decisionmaking processes, and the government institutions involved in conventional arms exports have long been the subject of international concern, especially since the 1980s when China emerged as a significant, second-tier supplier of conventional weapons and missiles to developing countries. China has exported a variety of weapons to an eclectic mix of recipients in volatile regions which have caused many countries to question Beijing’s official positions and decisionmaking processes related to arms sales. Most notably, China sold significant amounts of arms to both Iran and Iraq during their lengthy conflict. This two-handed approach raised questions about the...

  4. (pp. 73-76)

    Despite the declining volume of Chinese arms exports, China’s shrinking market share, and the possibility that its arms exports control process will become rational and effective, Chinese arms transfers will continue to be an issue of concern for U.S. policymakers in the coming years. China’s past willingness to introduce certain military products such as cruise missiles and ballistic missile technologies into regions of U.S. concern (e.g., the Middle East and South Asia) suggests that Chinese arms exports will remain of interest to U.S. officials, policy analysts, and military planners. Over the years, China has established strong political and technical relationships...