Procurement: China and Russia Parting Company

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May 12, 2007: China is winding down its large scale purchase of Russian weapons. Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, China has purchased over $30 billion worth of Russian arms. Warplanes, especially Su-27/30 models, warships and anti-aircraft missiles were the big items. China wants more advanced military technology from Russia, but the Russians refuse to let certain missile secrets out of the country. So the Chinese are cutting back. While the Chinese accounted for over 70 percent of Russian arms sales a decade ago, it's now only 40 percent, and headed for 20 percent over the next few years. An era in weapons procurement is ending.

It's not the first time Russia has armed the Chinese with modern weapons. It happened in the 1930s, the 50s and 60s. Relations between the two nations went south in the 70s and 80s, but picked up once the Soviet Union collapsed. That resulted in an enormous transfer of military technology to China. The Russians got paid in cash, and the Chinese are now trying to use that technology to build their own high tech weapons. Russia, meanwhile, is expanding its weapons sales, and becoming less dependent on China for sales.

 


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