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China Filling Void From US Drone Sales Restrictions

Image: China Filling Void From US Drone Sales Restrictions

Monday, 17 Jul 2017 09:00 PM

The United States is getting a double-whammy from China, whose proliferating drone weaponry represents both a commercial and strategic blow, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Satellite images from October 2016 have shown Chinese-made replicas of America's Predator and Reaper drones deployed in the Middle East and Africa by several countries, including allies the United States blocked from buying American models.

According to the Journal, the Obama administration led efforts to forge a global "drone code" that would curb proliferation and keep the weapons from misuse – but China is now filling the void.

China’s sales have enabled multiple countries — including some with weak legal systems and scant public oversight of the military — to use unmanned aerial vehicles to spy and kill remotely as the United States has done since 9/11, the Journal reported.

U.S. export policy that drives partners to buy Chinese "hurts U.S. strategic interests in so many ways," Paul Scharre, a former Pentagon official at the nonpartisan Center for a New American Security, told the Journal.

"It damages the U.S. relationship with a close partner. It increases that partner’s relationship with a competitor nation, China. It hurts U.S. companies trying to compete."

The Trump administration is trying to remove obstacles to American companies’ ability to compete, an unnamed official told the Journal. "We are attuned to what China is doing," the official said.

China began exporting strike-enabled drones around 2014-2015, heralding a new phase in its arms industry as a global competitor that can influence conflicts and alliances worldwide, the Journal reported.

It is now the world’s third-biggest arms seller by value, behind the U.S. at No. 1 and Russia, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The Pentagon estimates China could produce almost 42,000 aerial drones — sale value more than $10 billion — in the decade up to 2023.

U.S. manufacturers, and their political backers, argue Washington can no longer prevent drone proliferation.

Bart Roper, executive vice president of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., told the Journal the United States is ceding the drone market to Chinese and others "due to obsolete and arbitrary restrictions," and hopes the Trump administration will revise policy to better promote U.S. industry.

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The United States is getting a double-whammy from China, whose proliferating drone weaponry represents both a commercial and strategic blow, the Wall Street Journal reported.Satellite images from October 2016 have shown Chinese-made replicas of America's Predator and Reaper...
china, selling, drones, instead, u.s.
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2017-00-17
Monday, 17 Jul 2017 09:00 PM
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