March 30, 2015 10:37 UTC

Science & Technology

China Develops Its Drone Industry

China said it considered launching a drone strike against a major Burmese drug trafficker in Burma | TECHNOLOGY REPORT

China US Rivalry Drones
China US Rivalry Drones

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report in Special English.
 
China said last week that it had considered launching a drone strike against a major Burmese drug trafficker wanted in the killings of 13 Chinese sailors.   
 
China's top drug official, Liu Yuejin, said the plan was to bomb the drug lord’s hideout in northeastern Burma using unmanned aircraft.
 
The official said the drone strike idea was eventually passed over in order to capture Naw Kham alive. He was captured last April in a joint operation with Laos. 
 
The comments by the official are a sign of China’s increasing development of unmanned aerial technology. They also suggest that China is seriously considering drone attacks outside its borders.
 
Peter Dutton is with the United States Naval War College. He says China is moving away from its earlier policy of non-interference in international affairs.
 
"This is a new change. This is China behaving more actively in the international sphere to protect its interests beyond its borders than it had in the past."
 
For years, the United States has led the global drone market. It is known to use UAV, or unmanned aerial vehicle, strikes against foreign targets.
 
In recent years, China has greatly improved its drone technology. It showed off many of its new models at recent air shows in the country. One of the drones reaches distances of over 3,200 kilometers.
 
The country is also modernizing its global navigation system to compete with those of the United States, Russia and Europe.  
 
The United States has justified drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia by saying their governments have been unwilling or unable to suppress the threats from the individuals targeted.
 
American University law professor Stephen Vladeck says Washington needs to be much more specific about its conditions for using armed UAVs.
 
"Part of the problem is that because the U.S. government is engaged in what seems like so many drone strikes, and has not exactly been forthcoming about the criteria it uses, it's possible for countries like China to point at the U.S. example and say, 'if they're doing it, so can we.'"
 
The United States exports unmanned aircraft to only a few of its closest allies. China is now seen as an increasingly reliable and cheap supplier. Several countries have bought or built their own UAVs, mostly for surveillance. Professor Vladeck finds this concerning.
 
"The problem is that this technology is becoming so widely available and so cheap, that I think it is only a matter of time before countries with far smaller militaries, countries with far less responsible regimes, are in a position where they want to use these technologies as well."
This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Audio Chinese Development Bank Gains Members

    The Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, proposed by China, is aimed at financing infrastructure projects in Asian countries. The United States has voiced concerns about how the bank might affect organizations such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. But some U.S. allies have joined. More

  • Fashion District New York City

    Video 'Made in New York' Incentives for Fashion Designers

    The Made in New York program provides help to factories that invest in technology and workforce development. To date, New York City has approved more than one million dollars to eligible factories. More

  • Fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls before infrared imaging, right, and after, left, are seen.

    Video Dead Sea Scrolls Still Have Lessons to Teach

    A California museum is now showing the largest exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls ever seen outside of Israel. There are 20 Dead Sea Scrolls and many other royal and ritual objects on display in the exhibit. Modern science is revealing hidden texts and the exact age of the scrolls. More

  • 顾客在香港一家书店翻看与中国大陆有关的书籍。(2012年6月1日资料照)

    Audio Book Publishers Warn of Censorship in Hong Kong

    Publishers and authors are warning that censorship is increasing in Hong Kong. They say bookstores are returning books connected to authors who have been involved in the recent pro-democracy protests. Bookstores are under pressure to not carry books that may offend China's central government. More

  • Video Could Drones Help Save Rhinos in South Africa?

    Searching for illegal hunting is best done from above. But piloted flights are costly. Now, some college students have made a drone to look for poachers. It is low cost and can observe more places than other aircraft. South African officials may find drones a good tool in animal protection efforts. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio New Treatment for AIDS Called a ‘Big Deal’

    Read on to learn words like mutate, neutralize and antiretroviral as you learn how researchers have found a way to trick HIV, the virus causing AIDS, into killing itself. The difficulty level might be high as this article describes what happens when a genetically modified cell become an HIV. More

  • Video Angelina Jolie Has Second Surgery to Prevent Cancer

    The 39-year-old actress published a piece in The New York Times about her decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to protect herself from cancer. She had a double mastectomy two years ago for the same reason. The latest surgery leaves the mother of six unable to have more children. More

  • Space Rocket to Launch Weather Satellite Into Deep Space

    Video Satellite Will Watch Sun Storms, Send Warnings to Earth

    Strong storms on the sun can cause problems for satellites, radio communications and even airplane travel. A satellite is now traveling 1.5 million kilometers to enter the sun’s orbit, just in time to observe the extreme weather on the sun at its most violent time the sun’s 11-year cycle. More

  • An employee plays the game Flappy Bird at a smartphone store in Hanoi, Feb. 10, 2014.

    Audio Too Much Gaming is a Pain in the Neck

    Smartphones and other electronic devices, or gadgets, are becoming more affordable. Children in India are using them more and more. Doctors say children who spend long hours playing video games are increasingly showing signs of physical deformities, meaning their bodies are not growing properly. More

  • Video Secrets of a Saddle-Maker

    People began riding horses thousands of years ago. Saddles for horseback riding were invented soon after. Today, many companies manufacture saddles. But it is rare to find someone who designs and makes these products by hand. American Keith Valley is one of the few. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs