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S. Korea ranks 10th in world arms exports: report

Defense 11:43 December 14, 2020

By Choi Soo-hyang

SEOUL, Dec. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea was the 10th-largest arms exporter in the 2015-2019 period, accounting for 2.1 percent of the world's total defense exports, an annual government report showed Monday.

According to the Global Defense Market Yearbook 2020 published by the Defense Agency for Technology and Quality, Britain, Iraq and Indonesia were the main buyers of South Korea's defense products during the period.

South Korea ranked 11th in last year's report.

The United States remained the top arms exporter, followed by Russia, France, Germany and China, with the five countries accounting for 76 percent of the world's total defense exports, it said.

Saudi Arabia was the largest arms importer during the period, followed by India, Egypt, Australia and China. The five countries accounted for 36 percent of the total defense imports in the world.

In this file photo, taken Nov. 18, 2020, Defense Minister Suh Wook (2nd from R) and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Nam Yeong-shin (2nd from L) look at weapons at the Defense and Security (DX) Korea 2020, an international defense industry fair, at an exhibition center in Ilsan, north of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Overall, the amount of global arms transactions increased 5.5 percent during the cited period compared with the previous five years.

Among the world's top 100 defense companies, South Korea had three on the list -- Hanwha Aerospace Co. at 46th, Korea Aerospace Industries at 60th and LIG Nex1 Co. at 67th.

The U.S. had 43 firms on the list, with their combined sales accounting for 59 percent of the total sales of the top 100 companies.

By sector, air equipment accounted the largest portion with 44.5 percent, followed by vessels with 13.2 percent, missiles with 12.7 percent and armored vehicles with 11.2 percent.

The amount of global defense spending was estimated at US$1.92 trillion last year, up 3.6 percent on-year, with the top five countries -- the U.S., China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia -- accounting for 62 percent of the total.

The U.S. alone spent $732 billion, which accounted for 38 percent of the total. China spent $261 billion, accounting for 14 percent of the total.

"The world defense budget is expected to gradually increase, surpassing the $2 trillion mark in 2022. Of the total, the budget for arms purchases is forecast to increase 56 percent from $356.7 billion in 2020 to $555.7 billion in 2026," the report said.

In this file photo, taken Nov. 18, 2020, an armored vehicle and an unmanned combat robot take part in a joint operation in a demonstration at the Defense and Security (DX) Korea 2020, an international defense industry fair, at an exhibition center in Ilsan, north of Seoul. (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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