According to Seoul’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration ( DAPA ), South Korea and Saudi Arabia signed a memorandum of understanding on February 5 in an effort to increase defense cooperation. Seoul intends to expand its arms sales in the area.
In order to maintain their participation in defense, the two will create a working group for weapons systems analysis, development, and production under the terms of the agreement, according to DAPA’s press release on Monday.
According to DAPA, the agreement was signed in front of Defense Minister Shin Won-sik, who was in Riyadh for the World Defense Show as part of a week-long trip to the Middle East, and his Royal equivalent Khalid al Salman Al Saud.
When questioned about the deal at a press briefing on Monday, the DAPA spokesperson did not provide any additional information.
Despite fierce competition from various international hands exporters, South Korea wants to increase sales in order to become one of the largest suppliers of weapons in the world.
According to statistics from the defense government, its arms sales increased from US$ 7.25 billion the year before to US$ 17 billion in 2022.
The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry reports that between 2013 and 2022, the nation’s imports of arms to the Middle East increased by almost twofold.
According to a November statement by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies ( IISS), South Korean firms Hanwha, Poongsan, and LIG Nex1 have recently completed talks with Saudi Arabia, collectively worth about US$ 989 million, for multiple rocket missiles, weapons and electro-optic systems. Additional discounts may be in the works.
According to the report,” Arab Gulf state are looking to diversify their sources of defense procurement and collaborations beyond their conventional Western vendors.” ” And Seoul may provide increasingly sophisticated technology solutions, frequently at fair prices and with shorter lead periods.”