South Korea Aims to Ramp Up Arms Exports

South Korean President Yoon said in a meeting on promoting defense exports that his government will step up efforts to boost arms exports and secure cutting-edge defense technologies as part of his aim to make South Korea the world’s fourth biggest arms exporter. Yoon’s meeting was also designed to explore ways to reduce South Korea’s import dependency on defense. “The defence industry is a new future growth engine and the pivot of the high-tech industry,” Yoon told the meeting held at Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), South Korea’s only military aircraft developer.

“With the intensifying competition for technological supremacy, we need to secure technological competitiveness to develop game-changing weapon systems for future wars.”

Yoon called for improving conditions for research and investment by defense contractors, and building a defense ecosystem that can grow autonomously by adopting a more export oriented strategy.

The meeting came four months after South Korea made its biggest ever arms deal with Poland, estimated at up to 20 trillion won ($15 billion), including exports of tanks and howitzers.

In August, Yoon had revealed his goal to turn the country’s defense industry into the world’s fourth largest after the United States, Russia and France.

A number of countries have been looking to develop closer defense cooperation with South Korea, including Norway and Australia. Yoon thinks it would help strengthen the country’s capability to counter North Korean threats.

“Some say that there might be a vacuum in our military force due to defence exports as part of their political offensive, but the government will maintain thorough military readiness posture while actively supporting those exports,” Yoon said.

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