What Role Do Arms Sales Play in China’s Geopolitical Ambitions?

What Role Do Arms Sales Play in China’s Geopolitical Ambitions?
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua and Philippine Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Ano inspect Chinese-made CQ-A5b assault rifles, Quezon city, Philippines, Oct. 5, 2017 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about the production and trade of arms around the world.

China, which in recent years has become the world’s third-largest supplier of arms after the United States and Russia, continues to expand its arms exports thanks largely to its relatively cheap weapons and military equipment. But that has also raised questions about how arms sales fit into China’s geopolitical ambitions, especially in Asia. In an email interview, Sam Roggeveen, a senior fellow at the Lowy Institute in Australia and an expert on the Chinese military, discusses the growth of China’s arms industry and the wider implications for Asia.

WPR: How much has China expanded its arms trade in recent years, and what are its major arms sales relationships?

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