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Russia Remains World's 2nd Leading Arms Exporter

STOCKHOLM — Russia has retained its position as the world's second leading arms exporter after the United States, while China has bypassed Britain as the fifth largest, a Swedish think tank said Monday.

The U.S. remained the world's top arms exporter during the 2008-12 period, with 30 percent of the global volume, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in its report. Russia was second with 26 percent, Germany third with 7 percent, and France fourth with 6 percent.

The volume of Chinese weapons exports rose 162 percent in those five years, compared with the previous five-year period, SIPRI said. That means China's share of all international arms exports increased to 5 percent from 2 percent, and the country climbed to fifth from eighth in the rankings.

The largest buyer of Chinese weapons was Pakistan, which accounted for 55 percent of the country's exports, followed by Myanmar with 8 percent and Bangladesh with 7 percent, SIPRI said.

China's move into the top five means that Britain, now in sixth place, dropped off that list for the first time since at least 1950, the earliest year covered by SIPRI data.

The institute said Asia dominated the global imports of weapons, with the top five importers all located in that region.

Negotiators from about 150 countries gathered in New York on Monday for a final push to hammer out a binding international treaty to end unregulated conventional arms sales, a pact that has seen resistance from the United States, Russia and China.

The United Nations General Assembly voted in December to relaunch negotiations this week on what could become the first global treaty to regulate the world's $70 billion trade for all conventional weapons — from naval ships, tanks and attack helicopters to handguns and assault rifles — after a drafting conference in July 2012 collapsed because the United States, then Russia and China, wanted more time.

The current negotiations will run through March 28.

Material from Reuters is included in this report.

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