North Korea threats spark S. Korean arms sales

Leader of the Nobel committee Berit Reiss-Andersen left presents the award to Hiroshima Survivor Setsuko Thurlow and Beatrice Fihn leader of ICAN

A new report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, revealed that despite the slump in global arms industry for five consecutive years, in 2016, arms producers world over saw US$375 billion in profits, with the USA weapons industry claiming over half the global sales.

US 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.

Companies in western Europe who lead the pack in arms sales after U.S. companies remained stable in their growth, however sales for companies in France and Italy declined, and UK, Germany recorded overall increases.

One of the report's authors, Aude Fleurant, also the director of SIPRI's Arms and Military Expenditures Program, attributed Lockheed Martin's status to "the acquisition of helicopter producer Sikorsky in late 2015 and higher delivery volumes of the F-35 combat aircraft".

United States and West European companies accounted for 82.4 percent of total arms sales for 2016, SIPRI said.

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).

Global arms sale rise for the first time since 2010.

"The growth in arms sales was expected and was driven by the implementation of new national major weapon programs, ongoing military operations in several countries, and persistent regional tensions that are leading to an increased demand for weapons", the group added.

Relatively rich western European companies reported stable arms sales while Russian Federation showed declining growth. Vietnam was a new entry in the top-10 arms importers accounting for 3 percent of all global sales.

'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.

Of this, South Korea's arms sector accounted for 2.2 per cent or US$8.4 billion - a 20.6 per cent rise in sales compared with 2015, the report said.

South Korea boosted its arms sales by more than 20 percent previous year and has ambitions to become a major weapons exporter, according to a new study. Japan is clubbed with Australia, Israel, Poland, Singapore and Ukraine under other established producers' category. Interestingly, there is no specific mention of China in the SIPRI report.

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