Global arms sales rise for the first time in 5 years

Global arms sales increased for the first time in five years in 2016 as rising geopolitical tensions fueled defense spending.

Sales by the world's 100 biggest arms producers increased 1.9% from the previous year to reach $374.8 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

"The growth in arms sales was expected and was driven by the implementation of new national major weapon programs, ongoing military operations in several countries and persistent regional tensions that are leading to an increased demand for weapons," the group said in its report.

Arms producers in South Korea, which increasingly supply the country's military, saw the largest percentage increase among developed countries.

The spending splurge reflects fears of a potential conflict with North Korea. Sales by South Korean firms increased by over 20% in 2016, to $8.4 billion.

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