Wendell Minnick

After so many remarkable introductions of new Chinese weaponry, including two new stealth fighters and an aircraft carrier, defense analyst Wendell Minnick from Taiwan wonders in Defense News why so few of his US colleagues do get get China right.

Defense News:

Time and time again, Western analysts have described China’s fighter development as years behind the U.S. They say China’s new aircraft carrier couldn’t last a minute against a U.S. naval task force. And they say landing a fighter on the aircraft carrier is years away.

Yet over the past two years, two new stealth fighter aircraft have emerged from behind the veil. When photographs appeared, naysayers called them Photoshopped. Then when videos appeared showing them flying, analysts dismissed them as prototypes that will never go into production…

The second thing that upset the apple cart for Western analysts was news that China might buy 24 Russian-built Su-35 fighters. Too many analysts predicted Russia had been badly burned by the Su-27/J-11B scandal and would never try another deal with China.

Yet rumors of the deal emerging at the Zhuhai Airshow appear correct. Russia has caved to demands by China to begin with an initial buy of 24 Su-35s, rather than the 48 originally demanded by Moscow…

“China is one of these things that can look like different things from different angles. The West loves calling it a dragon while China sees itself as a panda,” [Gary Li, an analyst at U.K.-based Exclusive Analysis] said. “I would say the key issue is that the West continues to view China and Chinese development from a Western-centric/Westphalian international relations tradition that places China into the ‘realist/revisionist’ camp,” he said. “However, as far as the Chinese are concerned, they are just getting on with national regeneration, with little outside help.”

More in Defense News.

Wendell Minnick 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

In the China Weekly Hangout, we discussed China’s ability to innovate. Greg Anderson, Janet Carmosky and Fons Tuinstra on October 18, 2012.

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