Global arms sales rise for first time since 2010

The study comes amid heightened regional unease over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

According to the report, geopolitical tensions in the South China Sea, West Asia, and the Indian sub-continent has fuelled a rise in arms imports in West Asia and the Asia-Oceania, with the two regions contributing to 72 percent of all arms imports during 2012-2016 as compared to 2007-2011.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) - behind the survey - said in a statement Monday that sales of arms and military services by the world's largest arms-producing and military services companies - the SIPRI Top 100 - totaled $374.8 billion a year ago, excluding China. 'The major economic difficulties experienced by Russia in 2016 have contributed to a slowdown in the rate of increase in the arms sales of Russian companies, ' says SIPRI Senior Researcher Siemon Wezeman.

In defiance of repeated global condemnations and sanctions, Pyongyang fired an intercontinental ballistic missile last week, which reached an altitude of 4,475 kilometers before splashing into the sea 950 kilometers east of its launch site, North Korean state media said.

In the face of North Korean threats, the proportion of government spending that Seoul devotes to defense is among the world's highest outside Middle East and African conflict zones, according to SIPRI's 2016 figures. Having gone through an enormous industrial development, South Korea was "increasingly using weapons and technology that can compete with what has been supplied by Europe and the US", said Pieter Wezeman.

South Korean arms exports, which amounted to US$253 million in 2006, reached US$2.5 billion previous year, according to official data.

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"The trend in this category for 2016 is dominated by the 20.6 percent overall increase in the arms sales of South Korean companies, with total sales amounting to 8.4 billion", SIPRI wrote in a release. The firm has developed a supersonic training hunter, the T-50 Golden Eagle, alongside American arms giant, Lockheed Martin.

The country's missiles, howitzers, submarines and warplanes are particularly popular in South-east Asia, Eastern Europe and South America.

The growing threat from North Korea and demand for advanced fighter jets helped spur the first increase in global arms sales in six years, a leading research institute said Monday.

Sales by Russian firms increased 3.8% to $26.6 billion, a slower expansion than in recent years.

Companies in western Europe who lead the pack in arms sales after USA companies remained stable in their growth, however sales for companies in France and Italy declined, and UK, Germany recorded overall increases.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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