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South Korea’s UAE weapons deal draws criticism

Frank Smith
Press TV, Seoul

South Korean President Moon Jae-in returned from visits to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Saturday. In Dubai, South Korean companies inked the country’s largest ever single arms sale, a reported $3.5 billion missile defense system for the UAE. Some South Korean activists worry about the human cost.

South Korea has also increased weapons exports to Saudi Arabia. Cheong Wook-sik has tracked South Korea’s weapons sales for 20 years.

South Korea has steadily increased its arms development over the past two decades and now ranks as the world’s sixth leading weapons exporter. South Korean companies have also diversified their offerings, to include tanks, missiles, and even controversial cluster bombs.

Saudi Arabia has deployed South Korea’s Raybolt anti-tank guided missile to Yemen, where the conflict features more advanced weapons. Riyadh’s recent airstrikes generated mass demonstrations there, but little interest in South Korea. Activist Cheong worries how arms exports will effect diplomacy.

President Moon Jae-in’s trip comes as his single term is set to wrap up in May. However, South Korea’s arms industry enjoys broad bipartisan political support.

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