Chinese aerospace firms have developed dozens of drones. Analysts say that although China still trails the U.S.
"China is following the precedent set by the U.S. The thinking is that, `If the U.S. can do it, so can we. They're a big country with security interests and so are we'," said Siemon Wezeman, a senior fellow at the arms transfers program at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Sweden, or SIPRI. "The justification for an attack would be that Beijing too has a responsibility for the safety of its citizens. There needs to be agreement on what the limits are," he said.