China and the Global Arms Trade
Two of the major postwar trends in international affairs are the increasing importance of China as a global actor and the explosive growth in conventional arms transfers to the developing world. The crossroads at which these two trends meet -- China's conventional weapons transfers to the Third World -- forms the center of this study. And, as we will see, analyzing Chinese weapons transfers is especially enlightening for a number of reasons. Not only can we shed light on important trends in the PRC security calculus, but a broader understanding of the global trade in conventional arms also comes to light as well. Through an understanding of China's security policies, and a careful compilation of Chinese weapons exports, this study determines the likely strategic, political, and economic motivations that guide the PRC in its arms shipments, while at the same time considering what these findings tell us about China's future as a regional power. However, before addressing China in detail, it would be beneficial first to place its weapons transfer policy in a global context by reviewing past and present trends in conventional arms sales worldwide.
The most obvious physical aspect of the arms trade -- the hard and fast existence of one nation's armaments within another nation's borders-