China, the growing arms exporter

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CHINA is flexing its muscles as an arms exporter with a growing array of indigenous weaponry, offering something for most budgets in the global arms bazaar and revealing its wider ambitions to strategic rivals and watchful neighbours.

As a new leadership was anointed in Beijing and the world looked on to see what direction it might take over the next decade, military officials from Africa to South East Asia were shopping for Chinese weapons in the country’s south.

Change has come fast in China, now the world’s second-largest economy, and with its rise has come a new sense of military assertiveness with a growing budget to develop modern warfare equipment including aircraft carriers and drones.

All the signs point to newly named Communist Party chief Xi Jinping, who is slated to become president next March, continuing China’s aggressive military modernisation.

China, laid out its wares this week at an air show near Macau, is now the world’s fourth-largest arms exporter.