A research group from Sweden says China’s weapons exports have nearly doubled in five years.
Chinese exports of major weapons grew by 88 percent between 2011 and 2015, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
China is now the world’s third largest weapons exporter. The United States and Russia are the other top weapons exporters.
Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher with the Swedish group, said: “China is actively pushing for exports. A lot of the exports are going to countries where China has had good relations for a long time.”
Pakistan and Bangladesh are two of the countries buying Chinese arms.
Wezeman said territory disputes in the South China Sea are fueling an arms race in Asia. Countries are reacting to actions taken by neighboring nations, he said.
Also, many Asian countries are trying to keep pace with China’s modern weapons.
Satellite imagery analysis by geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor shows overall land, building and military expansion by China on Woody Island in the South China Sea. (Courtesy of Stratfor)
In Asia, Vietnam became the eighth-largest arms importer in the world from 2011 to 2015.
Asian political and economic experts agree that Asian countries like Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia would rather focus on economic development. Instead, they are purchasing arms and over- budgeting their defense plans.
Gregory Poling, an Asian policy expert, said recent actions in the South China Sea have led to an arms buildup. Those with territorial disputes with China are stockpiling weapons.
The sea’s shipping routes are responsible for $5 trillion in trade every year.
I’m Jim Dresbach.
Shannon Van Sant wrote this story for VOANews.com. Jim Dresbach adapted it for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or visit our Facebook page.
Words in This Story
pace – n. the speed at which someone or something moves
stockpile – v. a large supply of something that is kept for future use