Korea-Poland mega arms deal jeopardized by financial hurdles

Officials from Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), including its head Seok Jong-geun, front row fourth from right, pose with a Polish delegation led by Vice Defense Minister Paweł Bejda, center, during a meeting in Seoul, Monday. Courtesy of DAPA

Defense officials from Korea and Poland met in Seoul, Monday, amid mounting concerns that lingering financial hurdles could hamper a second major arms contract between the two nations.Seok Jong-geun, head of Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), held talks with Polish Vice Defense Minister Paweł Bejda, Marcin Kulasek, vice minister of state assets, and Dariusz Ryczkowski, deputy commander of the Joint Support and Enabling Command under NATO, during the Polish delegation’s visit to Korea, according to DAPA.The visit by senior Polish defense officials took place 10 months after its former Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak visited Korea. It marks the first visit by senior defense officials of the new Polish administration under Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who took office in December last year, DAPA added.

The meeting also occurred as Poland, a major buyer of Korean weapons, has been expressing concerns about financial obstacles in closing arms deals with Seoul.In July 2022, Korea signed a framework agreement with Poland to export arms worth billions of dollars. Under this agreement, the two nations sealed an initial arms export deal worth 17 trillion won ($12.4 billion), marking Korea’s largest-ever arms contract with a single country.This encompassed exports of K239 Chunmoo multi-barreled missile launchers, K-2 tanks, K-9 self-propelled howitzers and FA-50 light combat aircraft. Korea’s defense authorities had aimed to finalize a larger-scale second contract worth 30 trillion won last year but encountered stumbling blocks due to loan issues. In large-scale export deals, it is customary for the bidding country to provide loans to its trading partner to assist in funding the deal.Warsaw requested over 20 trillion won in capital support for the second deal, but the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Eximbank) could not extend the 스포츠토토존 credit as it had nearly reached its legal cap as stipulated by law.

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