This paper investigates the determinants of China’s arms transfers by focusing on the roles of political factors and energy resource acquisition. Using Stockholm International Peace Research Institute data on China’s arms exports during the period from 2001 to 2014, we find that China is likely to sell and transfer more arms to countries with less political freedom and more corrupt or more autocratic countries, implying that political considerations are hidden in arms transfers. The motivation for seeking energy resources is overall supported, suggesting that China’s arms transfers are also motived by securing their need for energy and natural resources. That arms trade is a joint decision of both sides implies that political considerations also exist for autocratic regimes or resource-abundant low-income countries to acquire weapons from China.
- Arms trade