China imposed restrictions Monday on exports of long-range civilian drones, citing Russia’s war in Ukraine and concern that drones might be converted to military use.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s government is friendly with Moscow but says it is neutral in the 17-month-old war. It has been stung by reports that both sides might be using Chinese-made drones for reconnaissance and possibly attacks.
Export controls will take effect Tuesday to prevent use of drones for “non-peaceful purposes,” the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. It said some drone exports still will be allowed.
China is a leading developer and exporter of drones. DJI Technology Co., one of the global industry’s top competitors, announced in April 2022 it was pulling out of Russia and Ukraine to prevent its drones from being used in combat.
“The risk of some high specification and high-performance civilian unmanned aerial vehicles being converted to military use is constantly increasing,” the Ministry of Commerce said.
Related Story: China and Russia’s Growing Military Collaboration