China’s arms export market decreased by 7.8%. China remains the world’s 5th largest arms exporter
under pressure from the US-China trade war, familiar Chinese customers have turned to buying US weapons. Experts say that this is an effort of former President Donald Trump to boost US arms exports. Americans are increasingly aware of the threat posed by China, and they are doing everything they can to stop China.
In addition to the cause of the US-China trade war, which caused regional allies to buy US weapons, another reason, the Covid-19 pandemic, which also greatly affected the decline in the value of China’s arms exports. The United States also strives to propagate that Chinese weapons are a threat in the Indo-Pacific strategy, as well as condemn China’s illogical actions to dispute sovereignty over the sea, so that countries in the region would refuse to buy Beijing’s weapons.
According to a SIPRI report, Japan’s arms imports have increased by 124% in the past five years. Japan’s Ministry of Defense has planned to spend $ 240 billion from April 2019 to March 2024, to strengthen its air defense capabilities, to protect the island nation against threats. The recent increases in tensions between Japan and China, as well as the threat from North Korean ballistic missiles, have prompted Japan to take action. In July 2020, Tokyo announced plans to buy 105 F-35 stealth fighters, worth $ 23 billion.
After Japan, Taiwan also increased its purchases of American weapons under President Trump. Taipei has signed a contract to buy 66 upgraded F-16s, 400 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, 100 launcher vehicles, radar and other support equipments.
Though still the world’s second largest arms exporter, accounting for 22% of the global value, in the period 2016-2020, the value of Russian weapons decreased by 22% compared to five years earlier. The main cause of this decline is due to US competition around the world.
The biggest Russian customer is India. In the period 2016-2020, Russian arms exports to the Indian market decreased by 33%, leading to a decrease in Moscow’s exports. However, analysts say that India’s arms imports are expected to increase over the next five years, due to increasing threats from China and Pakistan.
India is also trying to diversify its arms supply. The Indian military mainly imports weapons from Russia, the US, France and some other countries. Their new trend is to focus on domestic weapons development and technological innovation. The most recent arms deals for India are all from the US and some Western countries.
The threat from China also affects many other countries in Asia and Oceania, which is the impetus for boosting arms imports. Bigger deals are planned. Many countries in Southeast Asia actively procure weapons and also manufacture weapons domestically.