China has overtaken Britain to become the world's fifth largest arms exporter, according to a report by a Swedish think tank on global weapons sales.
The new ranking, which marks the first time that the UK has not been among the top five arms exporters, has been attributed to China's strong sales to Pakistan.
The report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released Monday showed China's volume of weapons exports between 2008 and 2012 rose 162% compared with the previous five-year period, the Guardian reported.
"China's rise has been driven primarily by large-scale arms acquisitions by Pakistan," Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme, told AP
Other recent deals include the sale of three frigates to Algeria, eight transport aircraft to Venezuela and 54 tanks to Morocco, SIPRI said.
According to the SIPRI report, the US remains the world's top arms exporter for the 2008-2012 period, with 30 percent of the global volume. It was followed by Russia with 26 percent, then Germany with 7 percent, and France came in fourth with 6 percent, the Financial Times reported.
For China, it is the first time they have made the top five since the cold war.
“Military exports are one way for China to increase its international status,” said Li Hong, secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.“
The Times said Beijing’s military budget had been greatly boosted in recent years and there had been an increased focus on technological advances, which had raised the sophistication and competitiveness of Chinese weapons.