This undated photo, released by Hanwha Defense, a South Korean defense firm, shows South Korea's K-9 self-propelled howitzer. (Hanwha Defense)
South Korea was the world's 9th-largest arms exporter in the 2016-2020 period, accounting for 2.7 percent of the world's total defense exports, an annual government report showed Monday.
According to the Global Defense Market Yearbook 2021 released by the Korea Research Institute for Defense Technology Planning and Advancement (KRIT), South Korea's arms export ranking rose from 10th place in the 2015-2019 period.
The Asian country's share in the global arms export market jumped to 2.7 percent from 0.9 percent in the 2011-2015 period, the institute said, partially attributing the increase to the country's technological edge comparable to that of advanced exporters.
In the latest yearbook, the United States remained the top arms exporter, followed by Russia, France, Germany, China, Britain, Spain and Israel.
"South Korean defense companies have grown enough to be able to produce high-tech weapons systems that are comparable to those produced by major arms exporting countries," the institute said in the report.
As for the key destinations of South Korean arms exports in the same period, Britain accounted for the highest 14 percent, followed by the Philippines with 12 percent and Thailand with 11 percent, according to the institute.
The defense market report came as South Korea stepped up efforts to tap into foreign defense markets with its homegrown products.
South Korea recently signed a contract with Australia to export K-9 self-propelled howitzers.
The country has also been in talks with Egypt to export the artillery system, while pushing to sell mid-range surface-to-air missiles to the United Arab Emirates in a possible deal likely to reach $3.5 billion.
In the yearbook, South Korea was listed as the world's 7th-largest arms importer. Saudi Arabia was the largest importer, followed by India, Egypt, Australia, China and Algeria. (Yonhap)