S. Korea's arms sales jump 20% amid Pyongyang threats

S. Korea's arms sales jump 20% amid Pyongyang threats

S. Korea's arms sales jump 20% amid Pyongyang threats

Global weapons sales by the industry's top 100 companies rose 2 percent in 2016 to almost $375 billion after a half decade of decline, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found in a new report.

Global arms sales have risen for the first time in more than five years, as rising geopolitical tensions fuel a surge in defence spending.

South Korean companies, which occupied eight spots in the top 100, saw a 20.6 percent overall increase in arms sales and total sales amounting to $8.4 billion, SIPRI said. There were overall decreases in the arms sales of Trans-European, French and Italian companies, while companies in the United Kingdom and Germany recorded overall increases.

American producers alone accounted for 57.9% of the total sales figure ahead of the British (9.6%), Russian (7.1%) and the French (5%).

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The institute said growth in arms sales was triggered by "ongoing military operations in several countries and persistent regional tensions that are leading to an increased demand for weapons". Among the top 100 companies, US producers claimed the largest share of sales by a notable margin-nearly 58 percent.

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.

'Germany's 6.6 per cent increase in arms sales for 2016 is mainly due to the growth in sales of armoured vehicle producer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (12.8 per cent) and land systems producer Rheinmetall (13.3 per cent),' says SIPRI Senior Researcher Pieter Wezeman.

Among the 10 Russian companies listed in the SIPRI Top 100, the trends in arms sales are mixed: five companies recorded sales growth, while the other five showed decreases.

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The SIPRI has placed South Korea among the emerging producers, which also covers Indian and Brazilian companies.

Brazil, India, South Korea and Turkey are categorized as "emerging producers" of weapons as they increase their output and share of the worldwide weapons dealing industry.

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.

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.

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Considering more than half of SIPRI's top 20 weapons sellers are based in the United States-including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman in the top five-the report declares the USA has a "decisive influence on the global trend".

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