If US sanction on Russia kicks in, where can China look for buying its hi-tech weapons?

Does China have any source other than Russia to buy its weapons from?


P.S. By hi-tech weapons, I meant platforms like S-400 missile system, Su-35, etc.

  • 4
    Why would it buy them rather than make them? They certainly have the resources (arguably more so than the US). Please add what youmean by hi tech, specifically.
    – JJJ
    Oct 5, 2018 at 8:23
  • Are you explicitly asking about ready made systems? Or are you including technology transfers that allow them to build something themselves? Oct 5, 2018 at 13:42
  • @JackOfAllTrades234, anything that recent US sanction on Russia covers.
    – user21304
    Oct 5, 2018 at 13:50
  • China's border with Russia is 3645 kilometers. How can U.S. sanctions affect anything moving across that border if the 2 governments were determined to evade sanctions.
    – H2ONaCl
    Oct 5, 2018 at 17:35
  • @H2ONaCl, you tell me.
    – user21304
    Oct 5, 2018 at 17:50

2 Answers 2


China's military machine currently aims to become self-sufficient.

China used to import lots of weapon systems from the Soviet Union during the cold war era. But then China started to manufacture clones of Soviet weapon systems themselves. Recently China started to develop their own weapon systems and even exports some of them to international markets.

And there is no reason why China could not do this. They have the high-tech industry, the economical strength and the natural resources to manufacture their own high-tech weapon systems.

Most of the newest weapon systems used by the Chinese Liberation Army are still inspired by Soviet/Russian technology, but completely made in China.

For example:

  • The new Chegdu J-20 is a 5th generation stealth fighter produced in China. Prototypes still use Russian engines, but China is currently developing a clone.
  • The Type 99 Battle Tank is inspired by the Soviet T-72 but manufactured in China
  • Little is known about the technical details of the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile due to the usual secrecy around nuclear weapon programs, but there is little reason to believe that it relies on any imported technology.
  • The standard rifle of the Chinese infantry is the QBZ-95, which seems to be an entirely new Chinese design.
  • China is also developing an own air defence missile systems comparable to the Russian S-400. They are currently developing various derivatives of their HQ-9 system which fulfill the same roles as the missiles included in the S-400 package. Most of these do not seem to be production-ready yet, which is why they recently bought some Russian S-400's to project power into the disputed regions of the Chinese/Japanese sea. But this appears to be a stop-gap measure until they have their own system.

So even if it would for some reason become impossible for China to import weapons from Russia, in the foreseeable future they will no longer need to.

  • Russia would support an US-proposed arms embargo against China --- its not US sanction on China, but the US sanction on Russia I am talking about.
    – user21304
    Oct 5, 2018 at 9:06
  • 1
    @anonymous The Russian arms industry doesn't rely much on US imports either.
    – Philipp
    Oct 5, 2018 at 9:09
  • I don't know why it is taking so much time to articulate myself. As far as I know, USA put sanction on Russian arms sales to 3rd countries. Yesterday, USA warned India against eating a sanction for purchasing S-400.
    – user21304
    Oct 5, 2018 at 9:11
  • 1
    @anonymous in that case you should add some numbers about Russia-China arms sales. Also elaborate on the American sanctions on the Russians and why you think they may impact China buying from Russia. Before your edit I thought you were talking about sanctions against China (because of Trump's rhetoric).
    – JJJ
    Oct 5, 2018 at 10:25
  • @anonymous Because you especially asked about the S-400, I added another paragraph about it. tl;dr: In a few years, China won't be dependent on any weapon imports. Not from Russia or anywhere else.
    – Philipp
    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:28

The other answer shows that China will be self-sufficient producing weapons in the future. For this question:

If US sanction on Russia kicks in, where can China look for buying its hi-tech weapons?

China won't comply. China and Russia continue to boost trade. As the Chinese middle class grows, it will need to become more of a consumer society and Russia is a pivotal piece of this, not the US. China doesn't need the US anymore, so it has leverage. As the US has sanctioned Russia more, China has grown more business with Russia. In fact, US sanctions have only strengthened the relationship between Russia and China and will continue to do so.

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