China has bypassed Britain as the world's fifth largest arms exporter according to a Swedish think-tank.
The volume of Chinese weapons exports rose by 162 per cent in the five years 2008-2012, compared to the previous five-year period, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in its report. That means China's share of all international arms exports increased to 5 per cent from 2 per cent, and the country climbed to fifth from eighth in the rankings.
The largest buyer of Chinese weapons was Pakistan, which accounted for 55 per cent of the country's exports, followed by Myanmar with 8 per cent and Bangladesh with 7 per cent, SIPRI said.
"China's rise has been driven primarily by large-scale arms acquisitions by Pakistan," said Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
"However, a number of recent deals indicate that China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier to a growing number of important recipient states."
Such deals include the sale of three frigates to Algeria, eight transport aircraft to Venezuela and 54 tanks to Morocco, SIPRI said.
The US remains the world's top arms exporter during the 2008-2012 period, with 30 per cent of the global volume. Russia is second with 26 per cent, Germany third with 7 per cent, and France fourth with 6 per cent, SIPRI said.
China's move into the top-five means Britain (now in sixth place) dropped off the list of the top five for the first time since at least 1950, the earliest year covered by SIPRI data.
The institute said Asia dominated the global imports of weapons, with the top five importers all located in that region.
Here's SIPRI's list of the top 5 arms exporters in 2008-2012 (share of international exports in parenthesis):
1. United States (30 per cent).
2. Russia (26).
3. Germany (7).
4. France (6).
5. China (5).
The top 5 arms importers in 2008-2012 (share of international imports in parenthesis):
1. India (12 per cent).
2. China (6).
3. Pakistan (5).
4. South Korea (5).
5. Singapore (4).
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