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Regional Defence Spending Expected to Double (11 Nov 2003)

Defence spending in the Asia-Pacific is expected to double by 2009. This is due to the acquiring of new naval ships to combat growing regional hostilities and to defend natural resources.

This is a contrast to Europe who is expected to decrease its US$13 billion annual spending by up to 25 per cent within the same time frame.

Mr. Robin Keil, senior vice-president of US-based naval analysts AMI International cited, "As far as new ship construction is concerned, the Asia-Pacific is going to be a more important market than Europe." Asia-Pacific is expected to invest a total of US$14 billion (S$24 billion) annually.

He said that Japan, South Korea, India and China would lead the Asia-Pacific's increased naval spending while other countries with smaller naval budgets are also expected to increase.

Mr. Keil added that this increased spending would not affect the military balance in the region, as countries will spend approximately 2 per cent of their gross national product on defence.