Arming China: Major powers’ arms transfers to the People’s Republic of China

Hugo Meijer*, Lucie Béraud-Sudreau, Paul Holtom, Matthew Uttley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
397 Downloads (Pure)


The rise of China has been fuelled by a massive military modernisation programme relying, in large part, on the acquisition of foreign military equipment. The question of how the world’s major powers define their arms transfer policies towards China is therefore crucially important. This article makes two original contributions. First, drawing on neoclassical realism, it proposes an explanatory framework integrating international and domestic factors to explain variations in major powers’ arms transfers. Second, based on a large body of elite interviews and diplomatic cables, it offers the first comprehensive comparison of American, British, French and Russian arms transfer policies towards China since the end of the Cold War.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)850-886
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Strategic Studies
Issue number6
Early online date24 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2018


  • arms transfers
  • Britain
  • China
  • France
  • Major powers
  • military modernisation
  • Russia
  • United States

Cite this