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World in conflict

China is now world second biggest in military budget

World in conflict, for peace 79%

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China became the world's second biggest military spender behind the U.S. as of 2008, when global arms expenditure rose 4 percent, a Swedish peace research group said Monday.

Beijing increased its arms spending by 10 percent to an estimated $84.9 billion last year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in its annual report on world arms transfers.

"China is continuing to acquire both domestic and foreign arms as it seeks to equip its armed forces for conditions of modern 'informationalized' warfare," SIPRI said.

The United States continued to top the rankings by a wide margin, with military expenses rising 9.7 percent to $607 billion in 2008, the institute said, adding that Washington accounted for nearly 42 percent of global armstransfers.

France narrowly overtook Britain for third place, while fifth-placed Russia spent an estimated $58.6 billion on weapons, SIPRI said.

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By MALIN RISING

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