China's drone use heightens concerns
BEIJING — Determined to kill or capture a murderous Mekong River drug lord, China's security forces considered a tactic they had never tried before: calling a drone strike on his remote hideaway deep in the hills of Myanmar.
The attack did not happen — the man was later captured and brought to China for trial — but the fact that authorities were considering such an option cast new light on China's unmanned aerial vehicle program, which has been quietly percolating for years and now appears to be moving into overdrive.
Chinese aerospace firms have developed dozens of drones, known also as unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Many have appeared at air shows and military parades, including some that bear an uncanny resemblance to the Predator, Global Hawk and Reaper models used with deadly effect by the U.S. Air Force and CIA. Analysts say that although China still trails the United States and Israel, the industry leaders, its technology is maturing rapidly and on the cusp of widespread use for surveillance and combat strikes.
China's move into large-scale drone deployment displays its military's growing sophistication and could challenge U.S. military dominance in the Asia-Pacific. It also could elevate the threat to neighbors with territorial disputes with Beijing, including Vietnam, Japan, India and the Philippines. China says its drones are capable of carrying bombs and missiles as well as conducting reconnaissance, potentially turning them into offensive weapons in a border conflict.
China's increased use of drones adds to concerns about the lack of internationally recognized standards for drone attacks. The United States has widely employed drones as a means of eliminating terror suspects in Pakistan and the Arabian Peninsula.
“China is following the precedent set by the U.S. The thinking is that, ‘If the U.S. can do it, so can we. They're a big country with security interests and so are we,' ” said Siemon Wezeman, a senior fellow at the arms transfers program at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Sweden, or SIPRI.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ebola spreads in Nigeria; Liberian treatment centers inundated
- Ukraine: Russian aid convoy is a ‘direct invasion’
- Gaza militants kill 18 alleged spies for Israel
- Chinese cultists on trial in eatery murder
- News Alert
- Israeli airstrikes kill 3 Hamas leaders in Gaza
- Tropical disturbance heads toward Caribbean
- Rebels boast of new Russian support
- Afghanistan’s bid for transition tenuous
- Social media being used to help catch British terrorist who killed Foley
- Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders