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

Taking Security Seriously       Change in military spending in 2007-2016 constant dollars              Source SIPRI

Arms sales by the world's top 100 defence contractors, meanwhile, rose past 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). South Korean companies recorded a 20 percent increase in their sales to $8.4 billion, largely driven by the rising threat perception in the country because of its regional tension with North Korea."This has accelerated the acquisition of military equipment, which South Korea increasingly sources from its own arms industry based on policy considerations", SIPRI wrote in its research note. Lockheed Martin's sales grew by 10.7 percent a year ago, which report co-author Aude Fleurant, who directs of SIPRI's Arms and Military Expenditures Program, attributed to "the acquisition of helicopter producer Sikorsky in late 2015 and higher delivery volumes of the F-35 combat aircraft".

SIPRI's report found that Russian weapons sales increased by 3.8 percent, totaling $26.6 billion in 2016.

USA companies on the list increased their share of arms sales to 57.9 percent, with a combined total of $217.2 billion in 2016, boosted by military operations overseas and the acquisition of large weapon systems by other countries, according to the report. French and Italian firms sold fewer arms, but sales rose by 6.6 percent in Germany alone, helped by demand for its tanks.

In the "emerging arms producers" category defense companies based out of Brazil and Turkey also reported a double digit growth in arms sales at 10.8 and 27.6 percent respectively. The arms sales of BAE Systems, the fourth largest arms producer globally, remained stable (up by 0.4 per cent). "The increasing nuclear weapons capability in North Korea has led to major investments in South Korea", the institutes's senior researcher, Pieter Wezeman, said.

Relatively rich western European companies reported stable arms sales while Russian Federation showed declining growth.

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

Having gone through a massive industrial development, South Korea is "increasingly using weapons and technology that can compete with what has been supplied by Europe and the US", said Mr Wezeman.

Global arms sale rise for the first time since 2010.

American defense firm Lockheed Martin - the world's largest producer - saw sales surge 11% in 2016, thanks to increased deliveries of its F-35 fighter and its acquisition of helicopter producer Sikorsky.

Global arms industry trades in green.

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