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Alleged UK-China Radar Deal May Be Unpleasant Surprise for US – Academic

© AP Photo / Shao Jing/Xinhua Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force Su-30 fighter, right, flies along with a H-6K bomber as they take part in a drill near the East China Sea (File)
Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force Su-30 fighter, right, flies along with a H-6K bomber as they take part in a drill near the East China Sea (File) - Sputnik International
The UK appears to turn a deaf ear to Washington’s warnings against selling sensitive military technology to the People's Republic of China. Speaking to Sputnik, Chinese academic Mei Xinyu has explained what is behind the allegedly "unlimited" defense contract between London and Beijing.

"The national interests of the UK and the US do not completely coincide, while political styles of the British and American governments also differ," said Mei Xinyu, an associate researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, commenting on an alleged UK-China radar deal.

On November 1, the South China Morning Post reported, citing information from Britain's Department for International Trade that an unnamed UK defense company had been given "the green light" to supply equipment, components, software and technology for military radar systems to China's People's Liberation Army (PLA). The report pointed out that unlike previous deals, the supplier was authorized to "export an unlimited quantity of goods."

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The media outlet noted that although Washington had repeatedly raised the alarm over the transference of Western technologies to China, it "might not be able" to disrupt the deal which was presumably approved by UK authorities in April 2018.

Possibly, the agreement on the delivery of military radars was reached during Prime Minister Theresa May's visit to China in late January-early February 2018. The talks between May and her Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, as well as Chinese President Xi Jinping were aimed at seeking ways to enhance bilateral trade and development of industrial cooperation amid Donald Trump's tariff war on Beijing.

"There is no doubt that in the Western world, Britain has indeed been the closest ally of the United States, for decades — from the Second World War, the Cold War to today," Mei said. "As an old colonial empire, Britain is more sophisticated and subtle than the United States in terms of foreign policy. On the other hand, among all the presidents of the United States, Trump's behavior appears to be the most reckless. Of course, the UK will not follow the US in everything."

The Chinese scholar presumed that before striking the deal the UK and China had weighed the pros and cons.

"The UK is aware that Chinese technology in some areas has already reached a measurable level. If the UK does not sell military radar equipment to China, then in fact it will not change anything. And if you make a deal, you can make a profit," the scholar pointed out.

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The question then arises as to how Washington will contain China's rise under these circumstances and whether the US will manage to form a wide coalition against the second largest economy in the world.

"The United States is far from being a monolith on the issue of containing China," Mei noted. "Many Americans hope that the United States will be able to maintain normal relations with China and will seek mutually beneficial cooperation. They hope that the US will not lose this market. Of course, for those who see China as a threat and believe that it should be contained, the deal between China and the UK will be a great disappointment."

However, UK-China cooperation in the field of radiolocation is likely to prompt further concerns in the US. It was reported in October that Hugh Griffiths, chairman of the Defense Science Expert Committee at the British Ministry of Defense and one of the country's most prominent radar specialists had received an Outstanding Contribution Award for Chinese Radar International Development from Beijing for his contribution to the development of China's radar technology.

Previously, The China Daily reported that the Nanjing Research Institute of Electronics Technology in Jiangsu province had designed and built a radar capable of detecting targets from more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) away.

Sun Jun, head of the institute's Intelligent Detection Technology Laboratory told the media outlet that China's new quantum radars had "resolved traditional radar difficulties in terms of handling stealth targets and surviving enemy countermeasures."

The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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