As an important neighbor of China, Thailand has purchased a variety of weapons and equipment from China, including the S-26 conventional submarine, VN-1 eight armored combat vehicles, Kashi-1C air defense missiles, guards-1B long-range rockets and more. On April 4, Thailand decided to purchase 10 more China VT-4 main battle tanks. It is less than a year since the last time Thailand bought China’s main battle tanks. In fact, not long ago, Bangkok, to a large extent, still chose to buy defense equipment from the United States and its Western allies.
China’s arms sales to this U.S. ally, Thailand, is intended to convey its strategic intentions to the United States: It is important for China to maintain the stability of the surrounding areas, including the stability of the South China Sea. China’s arms sales to Thailand cannot fundamentally change America’s Asia-Pacific policy, but such sales can be used as a means to show China’s attitude towards U.S. Asia-Pacific policy. Its political significance is far greater than its economic and military significance.
China’s military exchanges with Thailand, as well as with other countries and regions at different levels also show the outside world that China has the intention to bear more responsibility to maintain regional security.
The China-Philippines Scarborough Shoal incident, the Sino-Japanese Diaoyu Islands conflict, the China and South Korea “THAAD” dispute, and the Sino-U.S. “freedom of navigation” incident in the South China Sea all have made China’s peripheral security situation deteriorate. The United States’ shadow in these events was everywhere. In the military field, although China has made progress, the gap between the two countries is still very big. In order to encourage the United States to accept China’s rise, it is not enough to stay at the level of being firm strategically. Perhaps more and more intensive arms trades will show that China’s desire to play a more leading role in regional security is not only at the stage of having the idea, but has been put into action.
Source: Duowei, April 5, 2017