China has become the world’s fifth largest exporter of major conventional arms, replacing the United Kingdom, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report Monday.
The report, which contains new data on international arms transfers, says this is the first time China has been one of the top five weapons exporters since the end of the cold war.
Overall, international transfers of major conventional arms grew by 17 percent between 2003-2007 and 2008-2012.
According to SIPRI, the five largest suppliers of major conventional weapons in 2008-2012 were the United States, which accounted for 30 percent of global arms exports, Russia (26 percent), Germany (7 percent), France (6 percent) and China (5 percent).
The United Kingdom has for the first time been excluded from the top five since at least 1950.
“China’s displacement of the UK is the first change in the composition of the top five exporters in 20 years,” the report says.
SIPRI noted that Chinese exports of major conventional weapons increased 162 percent between 2003-2007 and 2008-2012, and the country’s share of international arms exports grew from two to five percent.
Dr. Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Program, said China’s rise was primarily driven by “large-scale arms acquisitions by Pakistan.” He added that some “recent deals indicate that China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier to a growing number of important recipient states.”
SIPRI was founded in 1966. It is an independent analytical center conducting research into conflicts, armaments and arms control.