Thanks to Pakistan, China now world's 5th largest arms exporter
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China has become the world's fifth-largest arms exporter, a respected Sweden-based think-tank said on Monday, its highest ranking since the Cold War, with Pakistan the main recipient.
China's volume of weapons exports between 2008 and 2012 rose 162 percent compared with the previous five-year period, with its share of the global arms trade rising from 2 percent to 5 percent, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.
China replaces Britain in the top five arms-dealing countries between 2008 and 2012, a group dominated by the United States and Russia, which accounted for 30 percent and 26 percent of weapons exports, SIPRI said.
"China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier to a growing number of important recipient states," Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme, said in a statement.
The shift, outlined in SIPRI's Trends in International Arms Transfers report, marks China's first time as a top-five arms exporter since the think-tank's 1986-1990 data period.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked about the report, said China was a responsible arms exporter which strictly adhered to international law.
"On arms exports, China sticks to three principles. First, that it is conducive to the recipient country's justifiable self-defence needs. Second, it does not damage regional and global peace, security and stability. Third, it does not interfere in other countries' internal affairs," he told reporters.
Now the world's second-largest economy, China's rise has come with a new sense of military assertiveness with a growing budget to develop modern equipment including aircraft carriers and drones.
At the Zhuhai air show in southern China in November, Chinese attack helicopters, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and air defences were on public show for the first time.
PAKISTAN, MYANMAR, BANGLADESH
SIPRI maintains a global arms transfers database base that tracks arms exports back to the 1950s. It averages data over five-year periods because arms sales vary by year.
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