China is world’s fifth biggest arms exporter

Major rise in exports driven mainly by sales to Pakistan, report finds

A man holds a gun at an exhibit of weapons at the China International Exhibition on Police Equipment in Beijing in this April 21, 2010 file photo. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters
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A man holds a gun at an exhibit of weapons at the China International Exhibition on Police Equipment in Beijing in this April 21, 2010 file photo. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters /

 


China has become the world’s fifth largest arms exporter with 5 per cent of global trade, its highest position since the cold war, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said in a report yesterday.

Chinese arms exports rose 162 per cent over the previous five-year period, with sales to close ally Pakistan accounting for much of the growth, the report 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.


Significant supplier
“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.”

Overall, the volume of international transfers of major conventional weapons grew by 17 per cent between 2003-2007 and 2008-12.

Burma accounted for 8 per cent of China’s weapons exports, while Bangladesh received 7 per cent of the arms. Algeria, Venezuela and Morocco have bought Chinese-made frigates, aircraft or armoured vehicles in the past several years.

China’s arms sales are still dwarfed by those of the US and Russia.

According to the Sipri report, the five largest suppliers of major conventional weapons between 2008 and 2012 were the US (30 per cent of global arms exports), Russia (26 per cent), Germany (7 per cent), France (6 per cent) and China (5 per cent).

This marks the first time that Britain has not been in the top five since at least 1950, the earliest year covered by Sipri data, and China’s displacement of the UK is the first change in the composition of the top five exporters in 20 years.