Report: China Exports of Conventional Weapons Soar

Monday, 18 Mar 2013 03:59 PM

By Kenneth Hanner

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China’s exports of conventional arms have jumped 162 percent since 2008 making the People’s Republic now the world’s fifth largest arms exporter.

And more than half of its weapons are bound for Pakistan, a new report reveals.

Pakistan’s purchases include tanks, fighter jets, patrol boats, guns, radars and communications equipment, Talat Masoud, a retired Pakistani general, told VOA News.

Masoud said Pakistan sees China as a counterweight to India’s “hegemonic” ambitions.

With the surge in Chinese weapons exports, Britain fell off the list of the top five exporters of conventional arms for the first time since 1950, when the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) began tracking such arms transfers.

The report said that 47 percent of the world’s imported arms went to countries in Asia and Oceania in 2012. China itself is the second biggest importer, behind only India. Rounding out the top five importers are Pakistan, South Korea and Singapore, SIPRI said in a report released Monday.

While Asian nations were beefing up their military, Europe was slowing its pace of military purchases, as delivery to European nations fell by 20 percent.

“Many European states are also seeking to export newly acquired combat aircraft that they can no longer afford to maintain. For example, Portugal is seeking buyers for its new fleet of F-16s and Spain is seeking to sell newly purchased Eurofighter Typhoons,” the report said.

The United States remains the world’s leading exporter of arms, with 30 percent of the market share. Russia is second at 26 percent, followed by Germany with 7 percent, and France with 6 percent. China’s surge brought its share to 5 percent, up from 2 percent five years ago.

China’s replacement of Britain on the list marks the first change in the top five exporters in 20 years.







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