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Defense Minister Vows Efforts to Achieve US$20 Billion in Arms Exports This Year

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) — South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup pledged Monday to work together with local defense firms to achieve US$20 billion in the country’s arms exports this year, reiterating Seoul’s commitment to helping cement their footholds overseas.

Lee made the remarks during a meeting with heads of defense firms and officials from his ministry and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, as Seoul sets sights on exceeding last year’s record high arms exports of $17.3 billion.

“The defense ministry will make efforts to work together with all of you here to become a ‘dream team’ beyond just being one united team to achieve arms exports of $20 billion this year,” Lee said.

The minister reiterated the Yoon Suk Yeol administration’s mantra of “peace through strength.”

“I believe that beyond the Republic of Korea, the K-defense industry will contribute to promoting world peace through strength,” he said.

Korea Defense Industry Association Chairman Eugene Kim welcomed the government’s efforts to strengthen support for the defense sector.

“In order for the Korean defense industry — now writing a new history — to grow continuously, it is important to succeed in ongoing efforts to export various homegrown weapons systems, and to that end, the role of not only the companies but also the government is crucial,” he was quoted as saying.

Last year, South Korea’s arms exports hit a record high as it signed major contracts with Poland to supply K2 tanks, K-9 self-propelled howitzers, FA-50 light attack aircraft and Chunmoo multiple rocket launchers.

The defense ministry has unveiled a goal to carve out a 5 percent share in the global arms export market by 2027 to become the world’s fourth-largest defense exporter.

Source: yna