Russia and China have recently held joint military exercises in the Baltic Sea. China is not the only country where Russia ships its arms to. Russia develops military cooperation with the countries whose interests intertwine with interests of Beijing: Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and India. Pravda.Ru conducted an interview about Russia's defence exports in Asia with director of the Tauride Information and Analytical Center, candidate of political sciences Alexander Bedritsky.
"According to the Asia Times, Russia's activities to sell arms to Asian countries weakens China's position in the region. Does Russia want China a strong or a weak partner? Do they want to set Russia against China not to let the friendship happen?"
"Russia has very good relations with China and India. At the same time, India and China remain in antagonistic positions, sometimes it even comes to military clashes on the border. Russia carries out defence cooperation both with India and China.
"Russia tries to build a multi-vector policy and maintain good relations with China and India, including within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, bringing their positions closer. Russia does not sell its weapons abroad so that foreign buyers could use those weapons to the detriment of their adversaries. Russia sells its weapons to other countries to build parity relations. In fact, Russia acts as a dampener should contradictions between regional states occur.
"I think that such publications in the Hong Kong press are most likely needed to prepare the public opinion in the US itself for possible supplies of lethal weapons to Ukraine. After all, the article does not give anything to the Chinese side, which is well aware of the Russian military-technical cooperation in the Pacific region with other countries. Apparently, the article is intended for internal use. Although, it would seem, there is a great distance between China and Ukraine, but I do not see any other practical benefit in it."
"Does it mean that China is ok with Russia selling weapons to other states? Does Russia weaken the position of the United States in Asia?"
"Of course, Russia is selling its weapons at a much lower price, and this aspect threatens America's interests of the largest arms seller. One must understand that arms shipments are not just a form of foreign economic activity. They also envisage certain political guarantees. If Russia ships its arms to a foreign state, the latter becomes dependent on Russia. Let us recall the events of the first Iraqi war, when no French fighter took off in Iraq. Arms shipments always entail a number of political and economic conditions and guarantees, such as supplies of spare parts and maintenance. When Russia supplies weapons to southeast Asia, the country takes a certain share of responsibility for security in the countries that buy Russian weapons."
Interviewed by Tatiana Traktina
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The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969