China: Chasing Military Quality


November29, 2006: China has spent $15.6 billion on Russian weapons during the last seven years. That has proved to be a short time spurt, for there are no new large orders. This is going to be missed in Russia, where Chinese orders amounted to 45 percent of weapons exports last year. So Russian defense firms are trying to interest the Chinese in joint venture projects. The Chinese are particularly weak in developing complex military systems. Two major examples have been problems developing jet engine and military electronics production capabilities. Russia is farther ahead in both these categories, but still behind European and American manufacturers. So Russia offers China a way to advance their military production technology, so that both nations can jointly take on Western weapons makers in areas like warplanes, missiles and submarines.

China has bought into the idea that, when it comes to military power, quality, not quantity, counts. To that end, China has been shrinking its military manpower over the last five years, and raising the quality of the troops still in service, and equipping them with more modern weapons.

November 26, 2006: China has some 130 million Internet users, and about 18 percent of them appear to be addicted to the Internet. The government, however, is more concerned about the net being used to spread anti-government information, or other illegal activities (espionage, rebellion). The net addiction is a much larger problem than illegal operations. China, for example, has illegal net activities (spam, creation and distribution of viruses) in proportion to its share of the world Internet market. So the country is not becoming a haven for Internet criminals. A growing problem for China is the growing dependence of business and military organization on the net. China is more vulnerable to Internet based attacks because of the wide scale use of pirated software, and shortage of net security experts.

November 25, 2006: Economic and military trade deals have been signed with Pakistan. One goal is to increase bilateral trade to $15 billion within five years. Pakistan and China are working together on several weapons development projects. These efforts seek to produce low cost, not-quite-cutting-edge weapons for the low end of the market.

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