South Korea’s leader wants to make the country’s arms industry the world’s fourth-largest arms exporter.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has vowed to boost arms exports and advanced defense technology as he aims to build up the country’s military and make it the world’s fourth-largest arms exporter.
Yoon on Thursday held a meeting to promote defense exports for the first time since taking office in May, designed to explore ways to shift the company’s stockpile from domestic to foreign sources.
“The defense industry is the engine of the future and the foundation of the high-tech industry,” Yoon told a conference held at Korea Aerospace Industries, South Korea’s only aerospace manufacturer based in the southeastern city of Sacheon.
“With the ever-increasing technological competition, we need to protect the technological competition to develop game-changing weapons for future wars.”
Yoon called for better conditions for defense contractors to conduct research and funding as well as the creation of an environment that can encourage outsourcing businesses.
The meeting took place four months after South Korea signed a major arms deal with Poland, expected to reach 20 trillion Korean won ($15bn), including the export of tanks and howitzers.
In August, Yoon unveiled a plan to make the country’s defense industry the fourth largest in the world, after the United States, Russia and France.
A growing number of countries, including Australia and Norway, want to strengthen security cooperation, which would help strengthen South Korea’s ability to counter North Korean threats while contributing to global peace and stability, Yoon said.
“Some say there may be trouble in our military because of exporting security as part of politics, but the government will remain ready to fight while supporting exports,” Yoon said.