Tue, Oct 09, 2012 - Page 6 News List

FEATURE: Wary of China, Southeast Asia beefs up its defense

Reuters, SINGAPORE

Vietnam got 97 percent of its major weapons from Russia between 2007 and last year, but is looking to diversify by talking to the Netherlands and the US, SIPRI says.

The Philippines, which relies on the US for 90 percent of its weapons, plans US$1.8 billion in upgrades over five years as it sees a growing threat from China over the South China Sea squabble.

Thailand, whose military has staged 18 successful or attempted coups since 1932, has built a patrol vessel designed by Britain’s BAE Systems.

Singapore buys mostly from the US, France and Germany, but also has its own defense industry, centered on ST Engineering. The state-owned group supplies the Singapore Armed Forces and has many customers abroad.

“Most countries are either interested in or actively pursuing their own domestic arms industry,” Storey said. “It’s cheaper than buying from overseas, long-term they’re looking at developing their own export markets.”

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