Reuben F. Johnson

A trip by president Vladimir Putin to Beijing in the second week of October was shadowed by the discovery of a Chinese spy network in Russia, writes defense specialist Reuben F. Johnson in The Washington Times. Arms trade from Russia to China was already dwindling.

Reuben F. Johnson:

Russia’s concerns with China begin with a fall-off in arms exports. Beginning in the 1990s, Russia enjoyed a brisk trade with China in sales of arms and defense technology, at the time a lifeline of badly needed revenue.

Sukhoi Su-27SK and Su-30MKK fighter jets, surface combatant warships and the effective Almaz-Antei S-300 air- and missile-defense systems sold to Beijing were major moneymakers for Moscow.

In recent years, however, Beijing’s purchases dwindled to a few specialized technologies — mainly fighter-jet engines, helicopters and air-defense systems.

“These are the only remaining systems that the Chinese have not yet been able to illegally copy,” said a Moscow-based analyst who consults with Russian and EU national defense industry policymakers.

Now Mr. Putin wants to make it clear that defense technology fromRussia must be purchased by China and not stolen, the analyst said.

As if to send home the message, just prior to Mr. Putin’s visit, theRussian government arrested a Moscow-based Chinese national, Tun ShenyunMr. Tun was identified as a Ministry of State Security (MSS) spy operating under cover as a translator assisting visiting Chinese delegations.

More in the Washington Times.

Reuben F. Johnson is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

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