Korean threats fuel South arms sales

North Korea Leader Kim Jong Un

Global weapons sales by the industry's top 100 companies rose 2 percent in 2016 to almost $375 billion after a half decade of decline, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found in a new report.

"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", according to SIPRI 's latest analysis.

Arm sales by global defense contractors have risen for the first time in five years, due in part to the mounting threat of North Korea's missile and nuclear ambitions, a Swedish think tank announced Monday.

Growing fears of conflict on the Korean peninsula meant that South Korean producers recorded the largest percentage growth in sales of any developed country.

USA and West European companies accounted for 82.4 percent of total arms sales for 2016, SIPRI said. Russian companies accounted for 7.1 per cent of the overall total.

Per the document, US companies' sales rose by four percent. The arms sales of BAE Systems, the fourth largest arms producer globally, remained stable (up by 0.4 per cent).

That growth was led by world's biggest arms producer, Bethesda, Md. -based Lockheed Martin Corp., which saw its sales climb 10.7 percent.

Russian firms rose by 3.8 per cent with Dollars 26.6 billion arms sale in 2016. And 2016 belonged to South Korea weapons companies as the country's government increased purchases. Its arms sales grew by 15.6 per cent compared with 2015 due to increased deliveries to the Russian armed forces and higher export volumes. This growth is primarily led by United States companies who control over half of world's arms sales.

Brazil, India, South Korea and Turkey are categorized as "emerging producers" of weapons as they increase their output and share of the worldwide weapons dealing industry. 'Continuing and rising threat perceptions drive South Korea's acquisitions of military equipment, and it is increasingly turning to its own arms industry to supply its demand for weapons, ' says Siemon Wezeman.

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.

Global arms sale rise for the first time since 2010. Japan's largest arms companies experienced sharp falls in 2016: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' arms sales decreased by 4.8 per cent, while those of Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation declined by 16.3 and 29.2 per cent respectively.

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