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Presidential office rejects lawmaker's claim about fighter jet project

   South Korea's presidential office on Thursday denied a lawmaker's claim that President Lee Myung-bak promised to purchase U.S.-made F-35 fighter jets when he held summit talks with President Barack Obama in October.

   Rep. Song Young-sun made the claim in a radio interview Wednesday, stating that Lee made an oral promise to select the F-35 Lightning II as South Korea's next-generation fighter jet. Song claimed that it was a state-to-state promise, though no document was signed.

   The presidential office, however, denied the claim.

   "This is not true," an official said on condition of anonymity without elaborating.

   In the fighter jet project, worth nearly $7 billion, South Korea plans to acquire 60 fifth-generation fighter jets. The country is expected to announce the winner in October this year.

   Aside from the F-35 by Lockheed Martin, the F-15SE Silent Eagle by Boeing and Eurofighter Typhoon by the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) will be in the running. (Yonhap)

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