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Bedeski, Robert, Andrew Andersen and Santo Darmosumarto. 1998 ‘Major Recipients of Small Arms in the Area.’ Small Arms Trade and Proliferation in Southeast Asia; Working Paper No. 24, pp. 7-8, 25. Vancouver: Institute of International Relations, University of British Columbia. 1 September

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Major Recipients of Small Arms in the Area

Chinese weapons are also making their way into Vietnam. However, it is unclear whether the weapons are intended for Vietnamese markets, or if Vietnam is only used as a transshipping site. This is important considering that Vietnam is already saturated with small arms left over from past conflicts as well as those which recently occurred in neighbouring Cambodia. Furthermore, Chinese sources claim that the Vietnamese are smuggling weapons into China, reinforcing the "dual-direction" argument of small arms smuggling.

Small arms from Vietnam have been found on fishing trawlers off the coast of Malaysia on the South China Sea. Malaysian officials argue that these cases do not represent a serious threat because the coastal guards have only confiscated fourteen small weapons from 1990 to 1994. Malaysian optimism is countered by the fact that such confiscations occurred on several occasions, indicating a patterned movement. Actual interception may indicate only the tip of the iceberg.

Vietnamese small arms have also been reported circulating in the Philippines, with weapons making their way through methods similar to those in the Malaysian case above. In most cases, illicit weapons were found after the Vietnamese trawlers had been detained for illegal entry. Manila points to rebels in the southern island of Mindanao as the most likely recipients of these weapons. One of the rebel factions, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), admits to obtaining small arms from abroad but has not identified a country source.

These patterns of small arms proliferation do not exhaust those in the region, but do indicate some of the better-known channels of supply.

ID: Q1293

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