Earlier this month, Pakistan approved a deal to buy eight Chinese submarines, in what would be China’s largest-ever arms deal. In an email interview, Joseph E. Lin, a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of Pennsylvania, discussed China’s defense exports.
WPR: What are China’s main defense exports, and who are the biggest buyers of Chinese defense equipment?
Joseph E. Lin: In the past, China’s primary defense exports were a combination of small arms and light armored vehicles, sold mostly to countries in Africa or the Middle East. In recent years, however, there has been a qualitative shift in the nature of the platforms sold. China has begun exporting far more technologically advanced weapons, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), air defense systems and light warships.