August 01, 2014 05:44 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

  • An African student (C) practices moves as other Shaolin martial arts students look on during the inauguration ceremony of a martial arts training program for African students, at the Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng, Henan province, China, Sept. 25, 2013.

    Audio More Africans Seek Education in China

    Tens of thousands of Africans are studying in China. The country provides students with financial assistance for education to develop skills that Africa needs most. And the system makes friends in Africa for the Chinese. More

  • Rappers Vo Viet Phuong, 25, and Nguyen Trong Duc, 27, record the latest edition of Rap News Plus at Vietnam News Agency's television studio in central Hanoi, Vietnam, July 2014. (Marianne Brown)

    Audio Vietnam Uses Rap Music to Report the News

    The Vietnamese media industry is changing as it faces growing competition from the Internet. One website has come up with a way to reach out to young people. It uses rap music to report the news. More

  • This photo provided by the US Centers for Disease Control shows an Ebola virus. U.S. health officials are watching the Ebola outbreak in Africa. They say there is little risk that the deadly germ will spread to the United States. (AP Photo/CDC)

    Audio Liberia Closes Most Borders to Contain Ebola

    President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said her country is closing most of its borders. The government has also banned public gatherings and demonstrations in an effort to stop the spread of the Ebola virus. More

  • U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about new sanctions placed on Russia in Washington.

    Audio US, Europe Pressure Russia Over Ukraine

    President Barack Obama says the new actions are meant to increase pressure on those responsible for what he called Russia’s “illegal actions” in Ukraine. The measures are directed against Russia’s energy, arms and banking industries. More

  • Technician work at a uranium processing center in Isfahan, Iran.  The UN Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has converted its enriched uranium into a less dangerous form.

    Audio UN Agency: Iran Converts Enriched Uranium

    Uranium now in a less-dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons; US to release billions in Iranian property More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Artist Turns Plastic Bags Into Art

    Making art with found materials is not a new idea. An artist near Washington, D.C. just had her recycled art on exhibit at the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center in Maryland. She uses a material found in every American home. Plastic bags. More

  • Many Southerners approved the decision. But northern abolitionists spoke strongly against it.

    Audio Dred Scott Ruling Opens the Whole Country to Slavery

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress had no power to ban slavery in the new territories. The 1857 decision involved a man named Dred Scott. More

  • Medical Marijuana Kids

    Audio Marijuana Helps Children with Epilepsy

    People who support legalization of marijuana say some kinds of the plant offer extraordinary help for human health. For example, one kind of medical marijuana is reported to ease effects of epilepsy, a disease of the nervous system. More

  • Polar Bears Arctic 2006

    Audio From Birds to Bears, Animals Face Danger Around the World

    Hundreds of newly-identified plants and animals in Southeast Asia are in danger. Poachers killed a famous elephants in Kenya. And scientists are working to save polar bears population in Alaska and the Bering Sea. More

  • Audio Ice Cream Sweetens Visits to Maryland Farms

    Maryland’s so-called 'Ice Cream Trail' is 460 kilometers long. The state's agriculture secretary says itl brings valuable attention to the state’s dairy farms | American Mosaic More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs