04/27/2020, 16.04
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SIPRI: China, India and Saudi Arabia top military spenders

China is second; India, third; and Saudi Arabia fifth. In 2019 US.917 trillion were spent on weapons. The US and China are in an arms race whilst India is caught between China and Pakistan. Saudi Arabia spent more than Israel. Spending is also up in Russia, South Korea, Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – China, India and Saudi Arabia are among the countries that spend the most on weapons in the world, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reports in its latest Fact Sheet.

China is the world's second largest military spender, followed by India. For the first time, the two Asian nations are in the top three. Saudi Arabia ranks fifth, after Russia, in a list dominated by the United States.

Global military expenditure reached US.917 trillion in 2019, a 3.6 per cent increase in real terms. Spending in Asia (Mideast not included) and Oceania (US8) represents 27 per cent of the total.

The US spent US1 billion on its military, up by 5.3 per cent over 2018, and is now in an open arms race with China, the other great world power.

China is estimated to have spent US1 billion to boost its armed forces, up by 5.1 per cent, but many observers think that the real figure is much higher. Together the US and China represent 52 per cent of global spending.

India increased its spending even more (6.8 per cent) to US.1 billion. It continues to have border issues with Pakistan and is facing greater Chinese assertiveness in the Indian Ocean.

Despite its stagnant economy, Russia increased military spending by 4.5 per cent, to US.1 60 billion. Its soured relationship with the US and NATO is the main factor driving Russian rearmament.

Saudi Arabia is by far the largest spender in the Middle East, with an estimated US.1 billion, far more than Israel (US.5 billion). Despite its ongoing involvement in Yemen, where the Saudis support government forces against pro-Iranian Houthi rebels, this represents an unexpected 16 per cent drop. Still military spending represents a big chunk of GDP remains (8 per cent), higher than all the major powers.

Japan and South Korea rank 9th and 10th respectively with Tokyo’s spending unchanged at US.6 billion whilst Seoul’s is up by 7.5 per cent to US.9 billion.

Military spending in Southeast Asia rose by 4.2 per cent to US.5 billion, largely due to fears of Chinese expansion in the South China Sea. Disagreements with China are also at the basis of Taiwan’s rearmament: US.4 billion (+ 1.1 per cent over 2018).

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