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U.S. approves Korea's request to buy SM-2 Block IIIB missiles

The U.S. government has approved a proposed sale to Korea of SM-2 Block IIIB Standard missiles, containers and support, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said Tuesday.

The agency said in a statement that the South asked for a possible sale of 17 SM-2 Block IIIB Standard missiles and 17 SM-2 missile containers, and that the State Department approved the proposed sale.

The estimated cost is $65 million, the agency said, adding that it has notified Congress of the possible sale.

"The Republic of Korea is one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific and a key partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in that region. It is vital to U.S. national interests to assist our Korean ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability," the agency said.

"The ROK Navy intends to use the SM-2 Block IIIB Standard missiles to supplement its existing SM-2 Block IIIA/IIIB inventory. The proposed sale will provide a defensive capability while enhancing interoperability with U.S. and other allied forces.

The Republic of Korea will have no difficulty absorbing these additional missiles into its armed forces," it said.

The proposed sale won't alter the basic military balance in the region, the agency said.

The principal contractor will be the Raytheon Electronic Systems Company and there are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with the potential sale, it said.

SM-2 Block IIIB missiles are used to arm Aegis destroyers designed to intercept ballistic missiles. Korea has been trying to beef up its missile defense to cope with growing missile threats from North Korea.(Yonhap)


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