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Poland requests S. Korea to accelerate arms supplies amid Ukraine war

S. Korea approves Hanwha Defense to begin negotiations on exporting machine guns to Poland

Polish Minister of National Defense Mariusz Blaszczak (Polish Ministry of National Defense
Polish Minister of National Defense Mariusz Blaszczak (Polish Ministry of National Defense
South Korea has approved a defense contractor to begin negotiations on arms exports to Poland as the central European country called for support to accelerate and expand the delivery of weapons amid the war in Ukraine.

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration said Tuesday that it has given the green light for Hanwha Defense to kick off dialogue on exporting K4 machine guns to Poland.

The announcement came after Polish Minister of National Defense Mariusz Blaszczak on Monday met his South Korean counterpart,Lee Jong-sup, and DAPA Minister Kang Eun-ho during his trip to Seoul.

Blaszczak also met representatives of the South Korean defense industry and the CEO and president of Hanwha Defense, the Polish Ministry of National Defense announced on Monday.

“During the meetings in Seoul, Minister Blaszczak talked about strengthening the defense potential of the Polish Army with the participation of South Korean armaments companies,” Poland’s Ministry of National Defense said Monday in a statement.

Blaszczak’s visit to South Korea came as Poland, Ukraine’s closest neighbor, sees the urgency of securing additional weapons at an early date as the country has continued to send weapons to the war-torn country.

The Polish defense chief and South Korean government agencies and companies discussed ways to accelerate and increase the delivery of weapons to the Polish srmy.

“Why is it important? Because of the war on our eastern border. It is important for the Polish Armed Forces to be equipped with modern equipment, proven equipment, and such is the equipment produced by Korea,” Blaszczak was quoted as saying by his ministry.

Blaszczak particularly pointed to the urgency of promptly increasing the supply of AHS Krab self-propelled howitzers, which have been domestically manufactured. But the AHS Krab is combined with the chassis of Hanwha Defense’s K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers.

The Polish defense chief also raised a necessity of newly establishing bilateral cooperation with South Korea in securing infantry fighting vehicles in light of his country’s limited production capabilities.

“My task as the minister of national defense is to equip the Polish Army with this weapon as soon as possible. So, in self-propelled howitzers Krab and infantry fighting vehicles,” Blaszczak was quoted as saying.

DAPA spokesperson Park Geun-young on Tuesday said South Korea and Poland have continued to “discuss defense cooperation focusing on ground weapon systems” during a regular press briefing.

Park went on to say that both sides have made an advancement on arms export, but declined to confirm the specific items currently under discussion.

The two countries consulted on the export of South Korea-produced battle tanks and armored vehicles during Blaszczak’s visit to Seoul, a senior official at the DAPA confirmed to The Korea Herald. But they are at a fairly early stage of discussion.

Both Hyundai Rotem, producer of K2 Black Panther tanks, and Hanwha Defense, manufacturer of K21 Infantry Fighting Vehicles, declined to confirm whether they engaged in dialogue with Poland over the arms exports when asked by The Korea Herald.

South Korea has been requested to step up support to countries who need to fill up their weapons stocks sent to Ukraine.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry said on Monday that it has been reviewing the export of 100,000 shells of 155 mm caliber to Canada, which will have the country indirectly join the international community’s move to provide weapons aid to Ukraine against Russia.

(dagyumji@heraldcorp.com)
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