US arms exports rise as global transfers drop

By AI HEPING in New York (Chinadaily.com.cn) 10:52, March 17, 2022

Global transfers of major arms saw a slight drop of 4.6 percent between 2012-16 and 2017-21, but the United States increased its exports 14 percent, moving its global share from 32 percent to 39 percent, according to a new report.

The report on global arms transfers, released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), said that arms exports by the US from 2017-21 were more than double (108 percent more) those of the second-largest exporter, Russia.

The Middle East accounted for 43 percent of US arms transfers, with US deliveries of major arms to Saudi Arabia increasing by 106 percent.

The growth in US arms exports between (the two four-year periods) was largely due to increases in arms exports to Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Korea and Japan — the four main recipients of US arms exports from 2017-21, according to the report.

Pieter D. Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI, said the small decrease of 4.6 percent in global arms transfers "masks large variations between regional trends''.

"Whereas there were some positive developments, including South American arms imports reaching their lowest level in 50 years, increasing or continuing high rates of weapons imports to places like Europe, East Asia, Oceania and the Middle East contributed to worrying arms build-ups,'' he said.

The biggest growth in arms imports among world regions occurred in Europe, the report said. From 2017-21, imports of major arms by European states were 19 percent higher than from 2012-16 and accounted for 13 percent of global arms transfers.

The largest arms importers in Europe were the UK, Norway and the Netherlands.

"The severe deterioration in relations between most European states and Russia was an important driver of growth in European arms imports, especially for states that cannot meet all their requirements through their national arms industries," said Wezeman.

France accounted for 11 percent of global arms exports in 2017-21, making it the third-largest arms exporter.

Arms exports by China decreased by 31 percent between 2012-16 and 2017-21, while Germany's arms exports fell by 19 percent.

Asia and Oceania remained the largest importing region for major arms, receiving 43 percent of global transfers from 2017-21, though transfers to the region overall fell slightly (4.7 percent).

"The USA remains the largest supplier to Asia and Oceania, as arms exports are an important element of US foreign policy aimed at China," said Siemon T. Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a news conference in August 2021 that for the past 39 years, the total amount of arms sold by American administrations to Taiwan hit nearly $70 billion.

Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party administration has repeatedly purchased arms from the US with taxpayers' money and attempts to seek "independence" by force, a mainland spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Zhu Fenglian, spokeswoman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, made the remark in response to media reports that the island has signed a contract with the US to purchase a Field Information Communications System worth $245 million. It is follow-up implementation of a US arms sale plan to Taiwan from December 2020.

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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