Arms modernization in Asia: an emerging complex arms race

Desmond Ball

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    ‘Asia is rushing to arm itself as never before’ (Sikes 1990); ‘Southeast Asian countries have recently gone on a military spending spree’ (Clad and Marshall 1992); the People’s Republic of China is also now engaged in an ‘arms buying spree’ (Tai Ming Cheung 1992); ‘Asia’s armories are bulging … conventional arms abound, and more are flooding in’ (Economist, 20 February 1993, 19); and there is a ‘new Asian arms race’ underway which ‘bodes ill for a region already racked by ancient animosities and border disputes’ (Clad and Marshall 1992). These quotations from press reports in the early 1990s reflect the concerns that were widespread among strategic analysts at that time regarding the sustained build-up of modern conventional weapons systems in Asia, which had been underway since the mid-1980s. I argued then that it was misleading to characterize the robust weapons acquisition programmes as an ‘arms race’, but that they could be better explained in terms of defence modernization and the new requirements for defence self-reliance in the region (and especially the maritime dimension) (Ball 1993–94).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Global Arms Trade: a Handbook
    Editors Andrew T.H. Tan
    Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
    PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
    ISBN (Print)9781857434972
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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