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China, The World's Number Three Arms Exporter

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China has eased ahead of Germany and France to become the world's number three arms exporter after the United States and Russia, a Stockholm-based think-tank said Monday.

The volume of the multi-billion dollar world arms trade rose 16 percent during the period 2010 to 2014 over the previous five years, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute added in its annual report.

The figures show that "the United States has taken a firm lead" with 31 percent of global exports of conventional weapons, SIPRI said, with Russia in second place at 27 percent.

The next three arms exporters are far behind with about five percent each, and China is only slightly ahead of fourth-ranked Germany and fifth-ranked France.

Three Asian countries accounted for more than two-thirds of Chinese exports, with Pakistan buying 41 percent of the total, followed by Bangladesh and Myanmar. Beijing also had 18 client nations in Africa during the period.

Russia's top client was India -- the world's leading arms importer -- with 70 percent of its purchases coming from Russia.