Swedish think tank: South Korea's arms sales record high

Swedish think tank: South Korea's arms sales record high


Kremlin mouthpiece RT blamed the resurgence of global arms sales on an increase in "US military operations overseas" - but ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and tensions in the South China Sea have also supported the increase.

Arms sales by the world's top 100 defence contractors, meanwhile, rose previous year for the first time since 2010, to US$374.8 billion (S$507 billion), according to the study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri). This was the case for Leidos, for example, which acquired Lockheed Martin's information technology and technical services businesses in 2016.

According to the report, sales from USA firms rose four percent in 2016 to $217.2bn, accounting for 57.9% of the overall total.

Despite the global rise in arms sales, researchers suggest the increase could have been even higher if traditional weapons importers hadn't run out of funds. This is nearly 2 per cent (1.9) higher compared to 2015 data.

South Korean arms producers saw a 20.6 percent rise in sales while Russian manufacturers experienced a sales growth of 3.8 percent in 2016.

Globally, US producers alone accounted for 57.9 per cent of the total sales figure, ahead of the British (9.6 per cent), the Russian (7.1 per cent) and the French (5.0 per cent).

Faced with constant missile and nuclear threats from its belligerent northern neighbour, South Korea is boosting its arms sales and aims to become a major exporter, a study said on Monday.

South Korea is turning "to its own arms industry to supply its demand for weapons" and "aiming to realise its goal of becoming a major arms exporter", the institutes's senior researcher, Siemon Wezeman, said in a statement.

On the other hand, Japan reported negative increase of -6.4 per cent. Japan is clubbed with Australia, Israel, Poland, Singapore and Ukraine under other established producers' category by the SIPRI. The combined arms sales of companies in these countries fell by 1.2 per cent in 2016, largely driven by an overall decrease in the arms sales of Japanese companies (-6.4 per cent).

Decline in Japan's arms sale volume is chiefly attributed to sharp falls in sales of Mitsubishi Heavy, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.

Together, these countries accounted for 34 percent of all global imports with India leading the table accounting for 13 percent for all arms imports. In the first half of 2018, SIPRI will release its worldwide arms transfers data (details of all worldwide sales, transfers and gifts of major weapons in 2017) as well as its world military expenditure data (comprehensive information on global, regional and national trends in military spending).

  • Terrell Bush