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Saudi Arabia tops UK as fourth largest defence spender

Published on Feb 6, 2014 12:08 AM

LONDON (REUTERS) - Saudi Arabia beat Britain to become the world's fourth largest defence spender in 2013, a report said on Wednesday, as Western cuts and Asian and Middle Eastern growth shift the global balance of military power.

London's International Institute for Strategic Studies said the United States remains by far the world's pre-eminent military power, spending some US$600 billion (S$761 billion) last year, some 38 per cent of the global total.

Overall global defence spending probably fell marginally in 2013, it said, but increased dramatically in Asia and the Middle East. China's military expenditure had increased by some 40 per cent since 2010, raising it to an estimated US$112 billion.

That in itself is helping spark a wider Asian arms race, the report said, with Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and others also ramping up spending.

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