Beijing, 1 Aug, 2023 (GNP): China’s commerce ministry has recently announced the implementation of export controls on drones and drone equipment, citing reasons for national security and safeguarding its interests. This move is expected to have a potential impact on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Under these new restrictions, vendors seeking to export specific drone components such as engines, lasers, imaging, communications and radar gear, and anti-drone systems will be required to obtain prior permission. Additionally, consumer-grade drones with certain features will also be subject to these controls, which are set to take effect on 1 September.
According to the sources, all civilian drones not included in the controls are strictly prohibited from being exported for military purposes. It asserts that this expansion of the scope of drone control demonstrates China’s commitment to implementing global security measures and maintaining world peace as a responsible major country. The primary initiative behind this measure is to address the potential risks of using civilian drones for military purposes.
In modern warfare, drones have become increasingly significant, with both Russia and Ukraine utilizing them during the ongoing conflict. The conflict has also brought attention to civilian drones that could potentially be modified or repurposed for military use.
Earlier this year, evidence emerged of a downed Chinese-made drone, retrofitted and armed, being used against Ukrainian forces. The manufacturer, Mugin Limited, confirmed the authenticity of their airframe and referred to the incident as “deeply unfortunate.”
The machines are referred to as “Alibaba drones” by some tech bloggers since they can be sold for up to $15,000 on Chinese marketplace websites like Alibaba and Taobao.
China, being a major exporter of drones to various markets, including the US, possesses a substantial domestic drone manufacturing industry.
The series of new controls were introduced in the wake of a report from the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which alleged that as of March, China had shipped more than “$12 million in drones and drone components” to Russia, while referring to a “third-party analysis” of Russian customs data.
However, a representative for China’s Foreign Ministry denied the claim on Friday, stating that Beijing’s collaboration with Moscow “does not target any third party.”
Chinese leaders have long been cautioned by Western officials not to financially back the Russian war. Beijing has maintained its diplomatic and financial backing for Moscow despite claiming neutrality in the war.
According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who stated in June that Washington had “received assurances from China that it is not and will not provide lethal assistance to Russia for use in Ukraine.” However, there are “ongoing concerns” that Chinese companies may be providing technology to Russia that could “advance its aggression in Ukraine.”