Purchasing the assault ships makes sense, the news magazine noted. "China has both the use scenarios and the military infrastructure necessary to make effective use of the ships," the Diplomat said.
Some say the United States could "pluck these ships off the market, lest China add two capable ships to its growing and increasingly modern navy," the media outlet added.
However, the ban is not strictly enforced and is open to interpretation. As a result, China enjoys limited access to European technologies and weapons, including aircraft, warships, ammunition, etc.
But this is not the only impediment. France cannot sell the helicopter carriers to anyone without Russia's explicit permission and Paris has been repeatedly made aware of that. At least until both sides reach an agreement on the future of the $1.3 billion deal. At the moment it is still hanging in the balance.
No reason not to give Mistrals to Russia
- The ships are likely to be sold to a third party30.3% (688)
- France will play dog in the manger and drown Russia's Mistrals14.9% (339)
- France doesn't really have a choice; the ships must be delivered to Russia54.8% (1245)
The deliveries were put on hold in late 2014 over Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian civil war. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied these groundless claims and pushed for peace in the war-torn nation.
Ukraine should not have been used as a pretext not to deliver Mistrals, Le Breton said.
Moreover, the failure to fulfil obligations under the contract turned into a serious image problem for France.
"According to our defense industry, we hugely discredited ourselves in the eyes of future clients. Evidently, we failed to be true to our word. Should other countries want to buy a ship built at the Saint-Nazaire naval shipyard, they will think twice before signing a contract and might find another contractor," Gilles Le Breton explained.
"I have talked to the workers at Saint-Nazaire. I assure you, they are very worried about their future," the politician concluded.