South Korea's arms exports soar by 177% in the past five years

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Seoul, July 24 (BNA): South Korea has emerged as the world's fastest-growing arms exporter, vastly outpacing the growth of other major market players in recent years.

According to a recent report by the Export-Import Bank of Korea carried by The Korea Times, the nation's arms exports hit a record high of more than 7 billion dollars last year.

Its exports during the 2017-21 period were 177 percent higher than that in the 2012-16 period ― by far the highest growth among the top 20 exporters, followed by Australia (98 percent) and France (59 percent).

South Korea's share of global arms exports nearly tripled to 2.8 percent from 1 percent. It is now the world's eighth largest, and Asia's second (after China), arms exporter ― a rapid rise from 31st position on the list by the SIPRI arms transfer database back in 2000.

"Exports of naval vessels grew by 1,660 percent (during the 2017-21 period compared to 2012-16) which led the trend," the report says. "Arms exports are estimated to continue to grow. The number is expected to reach $10 billion in 2022."

The Philippines and Indonesia are the two biggest buyers of South Korean weapons, accounting for 16 percent and 14 percent of its sales, respectively. Although the Asian region will remain an important market, the country is expanding its global presence with its newly developed military hardware.