According to the latest report from the Research Institute for International Peace in Stockholm, the United States continues to be the largest exporter of arms.
China is already the third largest arms exporter in the world. Although its share of the global total is only 5%, well below the 58% owned by the United States and Russia, that supply the most arms to international markets.
In the last five years, arms sales by China have grown 143% over the previous five years, according to the report released Monday by the Research Institute for International Peace in Stockholm.
Worldwide, the volume of the arms trade grew by 16% in the period between 2010 and 2014 compared to 2005-2009. The increased flow headed towards Asia, which garnered 48% of imports. Meanwhile, 22% went to the Middle East and about 10% to the Americas. Around 36% of all sales ended up in Europe.
United States remains as the largest exporter of conventional weapons, with 31% of the total after recording an increase in turnover of 23% in the last five years.
The US is the country with the most diversified portfolio, which includes 94 different client states. Of that total, South Korea seems to be the largest buyer with 9%.
Russia, America’s main rival in arms sales also increased its exports in 37% between 2010 and 2014. Russia is responsible for 27% of total exports, with India as its main buyer.
After China, the fourth and fifth on the list in global arms suppliers correspond to Germany and France, with 5% each. The UK has been left out of the list of the top five exporters.
Three countries whose borders are shared with India -Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma- account for 68% of Chinese-made weapons.
Pakistan is by far the best customer of the People’s Republic. The country to which Chinese diplomats like to describe as a “friend under any circumstances” purchases 41% of the weapons exports made by the Asian giant.
In its consolidation as a global supplier of weaponry, China sells arms to 38 countries of which 18 are African. For example, it has supplied three frigates to Algeria and drones to Nigeria. ANother important Chinese client is Venezuela, which has bought armored vehicles and aircraft for training and transport.
Despite its jump from nineth to third in the world, China asserts that “it is always prudent and responsible in its arms exports.” Beijing, according to a spokesman Hong Lei, “aims to improving the self-defense capability of the recipient country, not to harm peace and global or regional stability and definitely not to interference in the internal affairs of other countries “
Indeed, China, the country with the second largest military budget in the world, is in the process of modernizing and professionalizing its armed forces. Its military spending has increased more than 10% in the last five years.
In a sign of progress in its the defense industry, China has become less dependent on imports. If it was the largest buyer in the world in 2005-2009, China has now ceded that place to its regional military rival, India.
Between 2010 and 2014 China’s arms purchases fell 42% over the previous five years. Its main supplier was Russia, which provided 61% of all weapons bought by Beijing. France used to be responsible for 16%, and Ukraine for 13% of the total.
China, which has emphasized the modernization of its sea and air military forces, has traditionally suffered problems to produce its own engines for military aircraft. In the past five years, Beijing continued to import a large number of Russian and Ukrainian engines for combat aircraft, transport and training vehicles and warships.
According to the Research Institute for International Peace in Stockholm “most countries provide at least some information about their military expenditure, but this may often lack detail or omit significant items of extra-budgetary or off-budget expenditure,” declared the organization. “World military expenditure in 2013 totaled $1747 billion, around 2.4 per cent of world GDP.”
In its military expenditure database, the Swedish institution confirms that military expeditures have increased across the spectrum. All of the 172 nations that the organization follows on a yearly basis have spent more dollars in arms purchases since 1988. Nations have gone from spending around $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion in 2011.
In addition to being the country that exports more weapons, the United States is also the nation that spends the most money on military equipment; 37% of all military expenditures. China follows at a distant second with 11%.
Luis R. Miranda is an award-winning journalist and the founder and editor-in-chief at The Real Agenda. His career spans over 18 years and almost every form of news media. His articles include subjects such as environmentalism, Agenda 21, climate change, geopolitics, globalisation, health, vaccines, food safety, corporate control of governments, immigration and banking cartels, among others. Luis has worked as a news reporter, on-air personality for Live and Live-to-tape news programs. He has also worked as a script writer, producer and co-producer on broadcast news. Read more about Luis.