FAST FIVE: This Close US Ally Is Selling China Billions In Military-Related Equipment
6, 2020, via Flickr Most British exports were for “dual use” equipment but £53-million worth classified purely as “military” went to China over the three years 2018-20, including components for combat aircraft and military support aircraft. Other items licensed for use by China included military communications equipment and technology for air defense systems. The UK has banned the sale of “lethal” military equipment to China since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. However, the British exports are likely to benefit China's air force, which British ministers claim is a growing military threat. Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said in March that “the likes of Russia and China have studied our strengths in the air and begun developing the capabilities to not only counter but surpass us.” Britain is also aiding China's naval capacity.
Declassified previously revealed that in 2015, the Royal Navy gave training to a Chinese maritime agency that was closely involved with occupying the disputed islands in the South China Sea. However, that support to Beijing took place when cooperation between the countries was increasing.
The Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier is due to test China by sailing through the South China Sea later this year.
The exports also raise concerns about China's policy towards Tibet.
Mark Curtis is an author and editor of Declassified UK, an investigative journalism organization that covers Britain's foreign, military and intelligence policies.