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S. Korea in discussion with Saudi Arabia for long-term arms provision

By Park Sae-jin Posted : October 23, 2023, 11:12 Updated : October 23, 2023, 11:12
YONHAP PHOTO
[YONHAP PHOTO]
SEOUL --  South Korea is currently locked in a discussion with Saudi Arabia for a long-term arms provision project, the country's presidential office said. President Yoon Suk-yeol is currently visiting the Middle Eastern country for a state visit.
 
President Yoon arrived at the King Khalid International Airport near Riyadh on October 21 (local time). The South Korean president engaged in a summit meeting with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after a welcoming ceremony.
 
Through the summit meeting, the two leaders agreed to deepen the bilateral strategic partnership between South Korea and Saudi Arabia, the presidential office said. The strategic partnership was established when Saudi Arabia's leader visited Seoul in November 2022.
 
Among the agendas that were discussed between Seoul and Riyadh, a military arms provision project was one of the main agendas. "Large-scale defense cooperation discussions with Saudi Arabia are in the final stages in various areas such as anti-air defense systems and firepower weapons," Kim Tae-hyo, the First Deputy Head of the National Security Office, told reporters during a press conference on October 22.
 
Kim, who is accompanying President Yoon on the state visit to Saudi Arabia, said: "We will discuss a long-term and systematic defense cooperation program with Saudi Arabia, not a one-off cooperation."
 
"We want to cooperate in a way that weapons systems applied with our excellent defense technology will contribute to the enhancement of Saudi Arabia's defense capabilities and the defense cooperation is expected to be a strong driving force for expanding our defense exports," Kim said.
 
According to a senior official from the presidential office, the discussions over the arms provision project are at the stage of finalization, and the scale and amount are quite large. However, he did not disclose the specific weapon systems and quantities.

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