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The Philippines And South Korea Sign Defense Pact

October 20, 2013

South Korean FA-50 v2

From the Yonhap News Agency:

SEOUL, Oct. 17 (Yonhap) — South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III agreed Thursday to cooperate closely to boost defense industry cooperation between the two countries as South Korea seeks to export military hardware to the Southeast Asian nation.

The agreement was one of the key points of a summit between Park and Aquino. On the sidelines of the summit, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding that calls for greater defense industry cooperation and exchanges between the two countries.

South Korea has been in negotiations with the Philippines to seal a deal to export a dozen Korean-made FA-50 fighter jets, a variant of the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer jets. South Korea also hopes to export naval escort vessels to the Southeast Asian nation.

“The two leaders welcomed the signing of the memorandum of understanding on defense sector cooperation and agreed to enhance defense sector cooperation,” the presidential office said in a statement.

Park expressed gratitude to Aquino for selecting the FA-50 in the country’s fighter jet program and hoped the two countries will sign a contract at an early date, the office said. Aquino said he will try to ensure that defense industry cooperation with South Korea will go smoothly, the office said.

Park also asked for cooperation in other defense projects in the Philippines, including one aimed at purchasing naval escort vessels. Aquino was quoted as saying that it is no secret that the Philippines needs more vessels to defend its long coastline, and that Korean-made military hardware has been very useful to the country.