President Park Geun-hye called on the embattled defense procurement agency to ensure that the project to develop South Korea's own fighter jets will succeed within the planned period, the top agency official said Tuesday.
Chang Myoung-jin, the head of Defense Acquisition Program Administration, said Park gave the instruction after receiving his briefing on the 18 trillion-won ($15.9 billion) project to produce the fighter jets by 2025.
Chang made the comment in a defense subcommittee session, according to lawmakers who attended the session.
"The KF-X project carries significance for the country, and it is required to successfully complete it within the planned time frame," Park was quoted as saying by Chang.
Pointing out that it is "wrong to confuse the people and cause security anxiety," Park urged the DAPA and relevant ministries to be "precise and perfect" in handling tasks related to defense capabilities.
The project recently suffered a setback as the U.S. government refused to transfer four out of the 25 technologies U.S. defense giant Lockheed Martin initially offered to South Korea.
Lockheed Martin's offer was part of an offset deal linked to Seoul's purchase of 40 F-35 Lightning II fighters.
Last week, National Security Adviser Kim Kwan-jin said in a parliamentary session that South Korea can develop the four core technologies; an active electronically scanned array radar, infrared search and track, electronics optics targeting pod and radio frequency jammer.
The state-run Agency for Defense Development and local defense manufacturer LIG Nex 1 plan to develop the active electronically scanned array radar by 2021. (Yonhap)