China now world’s second biggest weapons producer
STOCKHOLM, Jan 27: The opaque Chinese arms industry has made the Asian nation the world's second largest producer of munitions, a clear shift from a decade ago when China relied on imports, researchers said in a new report on Monday.
The report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) suggests that China's weapons production, which has previously been shrouded in mystery owing to a lack of transparency, has grown as three of the world's top 10 arms companies are Chinese.
"We can with confidence say that China is the second largest arms producer in the world, behind the US and ahead of Russia," Nan Tian, co-author of the report, told AFP.
The report notes however that the lack of transparency remains an "important caveat" when studying the Chinese arms industry.
The vast majority of the estimated $70-$80 billion (63 to 72 billion euros) worth of Chinese munitions sold every year are bought by the different branches of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA).
This still represents a dramatic shift over the last 10 years as China in the past was a big importer of weapons from Russia and Ukraine.
"They no longer need to rely on other countries for their weapons," Tian said. Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the country's largest arms company, for instance, mostly produces aircraft and avionics, while most large non-Chinese producers cover a wide range of military products. -AFP