Across two media interviews with the Voice of America (VOA) Mandarin Chinese service published on June 27 and July 4, 2024, REMIT’s Eoin McNamara, research fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA), discussed recent developments in China’s relations with the West and with Russia.

Technology geopolitics was a focal point in both interviews. A first interview with VOA Mandarin service discussed Chinese manufacturers displaying the PLN-05 howitzer system at the Eurosatory defence and security exhibition in Paris in late 2024 equipped for NATO-standard 155mm caliber ammunition. 

McNamara commented that it would be obvious in Beijing that NATO countries are unlikely to purchase military equipment from China. However, by exhibiting security and defence technologies at Western trade shows, Chinese manufacturers hope to catch the attention of non-Western governments in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America that are more likely to “mix and match” between Western, Russian and Chinese military equipment, if technological compatibilities allow. This signals a further rise in Chinese competition for market share with Western and Russian arms manufacturers in the Global South. McNamara’s comments were subsequently covered by the China Times (Taiwan), Radio Taiwan International and other Mandarin-language outlets. 

McNamara’s second interview with VOA Mandarin service focused on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit held in Astana, Kazakhstan in early July 2024. He discussed the SCO as an organization helping China and Russia to keep clashing geopolitical ambitions in Central Asia in-check, while commenting on the entry of Belarus as a full SCO member. While Belarus is a close political ally for Moscow, McNamara argued that President Alexander Lukashenko will see full SCO membership as an asset supporting greater geopolitical balance between Moscow and Beijing. Lukashenko will see increased Chinese investment and technological imports into the Belarusian economy as reducing the effect of Western sanctions and strengthening his regime security. Some comments were subsequently covered by the VOA’s English-language service and other Mandarin-language outlets. 

Articles below:

“A power game was staged at the SCO Summit: Xi Jinping’s political vanity and Putin’s strategic tool”, Voice of America, 4 July 2024, article (in Chinese Mandarin):

Some comments in English: “China’s Xi, Russia’s Putin hold talks at Central Asian summit”, Voice of America, 3 July 2024, article:

“Chinese-made NATO standard heavy artillery appeared in Paris, arousing Western vigilance”, 27 June 2024, article (in Chinese Mandarin):

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