South Korean arms help strengthen Poland’s security: defence minister

The Polish defence minister has said that buying modern weapons from South Korea is strengthening Poland’s security and helping deter a potential aggressor amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Polands Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak (centre) poses for a photo after talks with South Korean defence industry executives in Seoul on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.

Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak (centre) poses for a photo after talks with South Korean defence industry executives in Seoul on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Twitter/Polish Ministry of Defence

Mariusz Błaszczak made the remark in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Błaszczak, who is making a three-day visit to the South Asian country, on Tuesday met with South Korean defence industry executives, according to officials.

On Monday, he held talks with South Korean Defence Minister Lee Jong-sup and the head of the Defense Procurement Planning Agency (DAPA), Eom Dong-hwan, among other senior officials, the PAP news agency reported.

On Tuesday, Błaszczak met with the management of the defence company Hanwha, which makes the K9 Thunder self-propelled gun howitzers bought by Poland last year, according to public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency.

’We are proud that South Korea has decided to invest in Poland’

Afterwards, Błaszczak, who is also a deputy prime minister, told reporters that Poland’s cooperation with Hanwha was “excellent.”

He noted that the first batch of K9 machines was delivered to the Polish army in December, just four months after the two countries signed a contract in the summer of 2022, the PAP news agency reported. 

The defence minister added that the first batch of K2 Black Panther battle tanks from South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem company also reached Poland in December.

Błaszczak said: “The number of these machines at the disposal of the Polish army is systematically growing.”

He announced that Poland would soon „receive the first batch of FA-50 Fighting Eagle light combat aircraft” and a delivery of „K239 Chunmoo rocket launchers, with a range of up to 300 kilometres.”

Błaszczak told reporters: “We are proud that South Korea has decided to invest in Poland. Polish arms makers will co-manufacture South Korean equipment. In some time, Polish firms will produce this equipment independently.”

’Powerful message about Poland’s defence capabilities’

“This sends a very powerful message about Poland’s defence capabilities,” Błaszczak said. „By equipping the Polish army with modern weapons, we are deterring the aggressor and strengthening the security of our homeland.”

He added that cooperation with South Korea “also represents a big opportunity for the Polish defence industry, which will co-produce, and then produce, this equipment, not only for the Polish army, but also for foreign customers.”

Later on Tuesday, Błaszczak laid flowers at a memorial site at Seoul’s National Cemetery, which houses the remains of South Korean war veterans, officials said.

Poland buys military equipment from South Korea 

In recent months, Poland has taken steps to acquire a total of 672 K9 gun howitzers, 1,000 K2 battle tanks, 48 FA-50 light combat aircraft and 288 K239 rocket launchers from South Korea, the PAP news agency reported.

The K9 gun howitzers and K2 battle tanks started arriving last year; the first batch of 12 FA-50 planes will be delivered later this year, and the rest between 2025 and 2028, according to officials. 

This year will also see the delivery of the first 18 K239 rocket launchers, officials said.

(pm/gs) 

Source: IAR, PAP, polskieradio24.plgov.pl 

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