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Kazakhstan looks to buy Korean ships

The Kazakh Navy Capt. Zhanzakov Zhandarbek is expected to discuss possible plans for importing more patrol ships from South Korea during his visit here this week, according to military sources.
Seoul has yet to describe the exact nature of the ships, as negotiations are ongoing, but officials close to the matter said they would be "high-speed" patrol ships similar to the new Yoon Young-ha class.
The official agreement is likely to be signed when Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev visits Seoul in April.
This is not the first time that South Korea has exported ships to the Central Asian country.
In March 2006, Seoul sold three retired patrol ships of the Chamsuri class to Kazakhstan.
The ships were decommissioned in December 2004 after operating in South Korean waters for over two decades.
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This time, the Kazakh government is reportedly seeking to acquire the latest Yoon Young-ha class.
The ships were commissioned in December as the Navy`s first high-speed patrol vessel equipped with an integrated combat system.
The 440-ton Yoon Young-ha class, officially called the Guided-missile Patrol Boat Killer, is the first patrol ship of over 400 tons equipped with guided missiles.
The ship`s combat system is an indigenous one capable of simultaneously detecting up to 100 aerial and surface targets. It can also engage multiple targets simultaneously, according to the Agency for Defense Development, Yoon Young-ha`s developer.
The latest patrol boats are to gradually replace the current Chamsuri ships. They were named after Lt. Commander Yoon Young-ha who was killed along with five others in a 2002 naval clash with North Korea in the West Sea.
Zhandarbek, who is here for a five-day visit, will be meeting with his South Korean counterpart Adm. Chung Ok-keun and a number of other military officials.
(jemmie@heraldcorp.com)

By Kim Ji-hyun
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