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China The World's No. 3 Arms Exporter After U.S., Russia

China's first aircraft carrier in 2012.
China's first aircraft carrier in 2012.

China has passed Germany and France to become the third-largest arms exporter in the world after the United States and Russia.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in its annual report on March 16 that the United States made 31 percent of all exports of conventional weapons in 2014, followed by Russia at 27 percent of the world's total.

China trailed far behind with only about 5 percent of the world's total.

Beijing narrowly edged out both Germany and France last year to become the world's third-largest exporter of arms.

SIPRI said 41 percent of China's exports went to Pakistan, while Russia's top buyer was India -- the world's leading arms importer.

The United States had the most clients, with South Korea receiving 9 percent of all U.S. weapon exports.

SIPRI said the data reflects the volume of the deliveries, not the total value of the weapons.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa