US, China and Saudi Arabia Biggest Military Spenders in 2017

According to a freshly released report on global military expenditure from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), China made “the largest absolute increase in spending in 2017, while Russia made the largest decrease.”

SIPRI revealed that $1.73 trillion was spent for military purposes around the globe, with the United States, China and Saudi Arabia being listed among the highest investors in military spending.

“The increases in world military expenditure in recent years have been largely due to the substantial growth in spending by countries in Asia and Oceania and the Middle East, as China, India and Saudi Arabia. At the global level, the weight of military spending is clearly shifting away from the Euro-Atlantic region,” explained Nan Tian, Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure (AMEX) program.

Unbeaten US

According to the report, in 2017 the United States spent “more on its military than the next seven highest-spending countries combined” – $610 billion.

“The downward trend in US military spending that started in 2010 has come to an end. US military spending in 2018 is set to rise significantly to support increases in military personnel and the modernization of conventional and nuclear weapons,” said Aude Fleurant, Director of the SIPRI AMEX program.

China’s Big Ambitions

Beijing’s military spending rose to a total of $228 billion, marking a 5.6 percent increase compared to 2016. Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI AMEX program believes that China’s ambitions of becoming a global power are reflected in its military expenditures.

“Tensions between China and many of its neighbors continue to drive the growth in military spending in Asia,” said Siemon Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI AMEX program.

Saudi Arabia Boosting Region’s Spending

In the meantime, military spending in the Middle East increased by 6.2 percent in 2017, with Saudi Arabia’s expenditures rising by 9.2 percent. Riyadh, thus, has become the third highest investor in military spending with a total of $69.4 billion.

“Despite low oil prices, armed conflict and rivalries throughout the Middle East are driving the rise in military spending in the region,” said Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI AMEX program.

Russia’s Spending Shrinks

Moscow’s military spending in 2017 was marked by a 20 percent decline, having reached $66.3 billion.

“Military modernization remains a priority in Russia, but the military budget has been restricted by economic problems that the country has experienced since 2014,” Siemon Wezeman said.

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