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China fourth exporter in global arms sales

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BEIJING (PTI): China has become the world's fourth biggest supplier in the major weapons' sector, increasing the exports by 212 per cent over the past five years, replacing France, according to a report.

Analysts said the new ranking shows China's military industry has gained momentum, but that the main advantage of arms produced by China is the low price rather than core technology, state-run Global Times here reported.

Chinese exports of major weapons increased by 212 per cent during 2009-2013, compared with the previous five-year period, and China's share of global arms exports increased from 2 to 6 per cent, it quoted a report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The three biggest exporters of arms were the US, Russia and Germany.

China supplied major weapons to 35 states in the past five years, mainly low and middle-income countries. Almost three-quarters of Chinese exports went to just three clients: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, the report said.

In the latest, China is building a stealth frigate for Nigeria.

China's rapidly developing military technology partly explains its expansion as an arms supplier, in direct competition with Russia, the US and European states, said the report.

"The progress in the military industry has been made due to the nation's increase in investments in the field," Shan Xiufa, a research fellow at the Academy of Military Sciences of the People's Liberation Army, said.

However, he noted that China mostly exports regular weapons. China's military industry can only be considered at the global second-tier level, distant from the first-tier countries such as the US, due to its lack of weapons with independent intellectual property rights.

"Weapons produced by China are price competitive and the country is skillful in combining others' technology," Shan said, noting that it is a reflection of the country's relatively low innovative capability in general industry.

Liu Weidong, an expert on the US with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that China was not comparable with world powers in increasing political influence through arms sales.

"China will consider raising its political influence in the countries that import its arms, for example, it sells weapons to allies such as Pakistan or Myanmar, but the US is more assertive in maintaining its political influence through arms exports," he said.

According to SIPRI report, the five biggest importers were India, China, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

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