Military weapons exports are an important tool for projecting a country's influence around the world, and China has marketed and exported weapons to 38 countries from 2018 to 2021. In addition to exporting weapons, China has exported private security contractors (PSCs) to protect and secure its interests, such as mining facilities, ports, and infrastructure projects, in other countries. To illustrate the spread of China's global military and security influence, RAND researchers developed a map that shows which countries received Chinese weapons, PSCs, or both in 2018–2021. The researchers found that 48 countries received Chinese weapons or PSCs during those years, including 14 countries that received both. The map, along with a table that the researchers created, shows China's expansive influence across Asia and Africa and into Latin America. The tool also shows the types of weapon systems that each country purchased.
This research was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).
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