While global arms imports are declining, they are increasing in Europe and East Asia in particular. This is due to the war in Ukraine, but also in China and North Korea.
Tensions with Russia have caused Europe to upgrade enormously in recent years. In the period from 2018 to 2022, arms imports increased by 47 percent compared to previous years, in the European NATO countries that was even 65 percent more. The beneficiary of the development is the United States, which has further expanded its position as the largest arms exporter, according to a report by the Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released Monday.
Strangely enough, however, global arms trade fell by 5.1 percent, especially in ‘classic’ crisis regions such as Africa (minus 40 percent), America (minus 21 percent) and the Middle East (minus 8.8 percent).
Japan changed national security strategy
On the other hand, there was an increase in arms imports to East Asia and Australia due to geopolitical tensions with China and North Korea. US allies South Korea (plus 61 percent) and Japan (plus 171 percent) registered the largest increases. Japan has only recently changed its national security strategy and abandoned traditional military restraint. The government in Tokyo even wants to change the so-called “peace article” in the constitution, which prohibits Japan from engaging in belligerent activities.
India, Saudi Arabia and Qatar buy the most
The main supplier worldwide was the US. Russian exports, on the other hand, fell because the Kremlin itself needed the weapons for the war in Ukraine. India remains the world’s largest arms importer, although imports declined over that period. In second place are Saudi Arabia and the tiny emirate of Qatar, which recently increased its arms imports by 311 percent. Australia and China rank fourth and fifth for arms imports.
Ukraine: increase of more than 8000 percent
It is not surprising which country currently has the largest overall increase in arms purchases: the Stockholm Peace Research Institute calculates an increase of 8631 percent for Ukraine.
I am Wallace Jones, an experienced journalist. I specialize in writing for the world section of Today Times Live. With over a decade of experience, I have developed an eye for detail when it comes to reporting on local and global stories. My passion lies in uncovering the truth through my investigative skills and creating thought-provoking content that resonates with readers worldwide.