A Chinese air force crew put a Russian Su-35 fighter jet through its paces
The study by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission warned China’s acquisition of Russian weapons such as the S-400 surface-to-air missile system – thought to be among the world’s best – and the fourth generation Su-35 fighter jet could have “significant consequences for the United States”.
It said these and other Russian weapons systems are far more advanced than anything China could produce and would allow Beijing greater military capabilities in a confrontation with possible antagonists such as Taiwan or the US.
Moscow resumed sales of advanced arms technologies to Beijing last year despite Kremlin concerns the Chinese were cloning Russian weapons.
Ground crew examine an Su-35 fighter jet
Both countries have been driven closer to each other by the return of Cold War tensions brought on by significant shifts in the global political landscape.
Beijing has accused the US of trying to contain it in the South China Sea, where Washington does not recognise China’s maritime claims, and in South Korea, where the US is seeking to base an advanced anti-missile system.
Russia displays its advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system
Yue Gang, a military affairs analyst and retired colonel in the People’s Liberation Army, told the FT: “The US wants to maintain its superiority and keep its advantage over others by at least an entire generation of military gear.
“But with the economic progress China has been making, Beijing is now only trying to reduce the gap.”
Russia has become increasingly isolated following its 2014 invasion of Ukraine and is anxious to cultivate China as an ally and counterweight to Nato.
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Russian has resumed sales of its S-400 surface-to-air missile system to China Inside China's Military Superpower Sun, February 5, 2017
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Armed police soldiers lift timbers during a drill on August 24, 2016 in Chongqing, China. As the highest temperatures reached over 40 degree Celsius at 5 districts in Chongqing, officers and soldiers of an armed police crop took outdoor training
The report, commissioned by US Congress, notes the countries’ military links are growing but said a Nato-style alliance — where one side would respond militarily in support of the other in a conflict — was “doubtful”.
It said: “Policy differences and mutual distrust will probably prevent a more comprehensive alliance-like security relationship from taking shape.”