China Drone Threat: Global Arms Race
China acknowledged earlier this week that it considered using a drone strike on foreign soil to target a major Burmese drug trafficker wanted in the killings of 13 Chinese sailors.
China Drone Threat Highlights New Global Arms Race
China’s acknowledgment earlier this week that it considered using a drone strike on foreign soil to target a major Burmese drug trafficker wanted in the killings of 13 Chinese sailors highlights Beijing’s increasing capacity in unmanned aerial warfare. It also foreshadows the dangers of a burgeoning global drone race.
Liu Yuejin, director of the Public Security Ministry’s anti-drug bureau, told the state-run Global Times newspaper Monday the plan called for bombing drug lord Naw Kham’s mountain hideout in northeastern Burma using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to end a months-long manhunt.
China’s top drug czar told the newspaper the drone strike option was eventually passed over to try to capture Naw Kham alive, which finally occurred last April in a joint Chinese-Laotian operation. But his comments reveal that China is weighing targeted killings seriously.
Beijing is becoming more willing to project power outside China, moving away from its previous policy of non-interference in international affairs, according to Peter Dutton, director of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College.
“This is a new change. This is China behaving more actively in the international sphere to protect its interests beyond its borders than it had in the past,” Dutton said.
Previously, China would have insisted that such interventions “either [take place] in international waters, or have United Nations approval,” he said.