South Korea Looks to Boost Arms Exports

Photo: REUTERS via Al Jazeera

The Facts

  • In what he views as the nation's "future new growth engine,” South Korean Pres. Yoon Suk-yeol is aiming to strengthen the country's weapons industry by securing cutting-edge defense technologies and boosting weapons exports, he said at a defense meeting on Thursday.

  • With its defense capabilities originally developed to curb potential North Korean threats, South Korea is now reportedly the world's eighth largest weapon seller. Yoon hopes to reach fourth place, after the US, Russia, and France.

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

It's a gold rush period for arms producers right now. As Europeans boost their defense spending to counter the Russian threat and replace weapons they’ve sent to Ukraine, South Korea has quietly become a favorite supplier of arms, ready to export its fully NATO-integrated weapons systems. The Koreans are definitely at the right time with the right technology.

Establishment-critical narrative

Defense exports shouldn't be viewed from a mere industrial or economic point of view. Unlike other exports, these commodities are deeply interlinked with human rights and international politics. South Korea may claim to consider this when exporting weapons, but its current list of recipients — which includes Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and India — speaks for itself.

Nerd narrative

2.26% of world GDP will be spent on military expenses in 2030, according to the Metaculus Predicition Community.

Establishment split



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