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Is South Korea Stealing U.S. Weapons Technologies?
November 21, 2011 04:05 PM
CURSE YOU KIM JONG...OH WAIT
Let’s say one hears rumblings that certain East Asian countries are stealing US defense technology. Naturally, the immediate assumption is that it’s the North Koreans or the Chinese. Little would anyone expect that it is South Korea, one of the US’s staunchest allies, who might be doing some copyright law-breaking.
According to Korean newspaper the
, there had been talk in recent weeks that American intelligence agencies were investigating Korean defense companies to see if they had developed weapons based on stolen US military technologies.
“The rumors began circulating after an unusual joint Korea-U.S. investigation in September of suspicions that Korea illegally disassembled the Tiger Eye, a key component of the cutting-edge U.S.-made F-15K fighter jet equipment for low-altitude night penetration attacks.
In early June, U.S. officials raised suspicions that the seal of one box which the Air Force had sent to the U.S. for maintenance showed evidence of having been broken, disassembled and put back together again.”
Though no proof was found in the investigation, the Korean media continued to report on possible unauthorized meddling with US weapons through October, with the Yonhap agency reporting last week that the US was looking into whether or not South Korea had appropriated American technology for equipment such as a multiple launch rocket system, torpedoes and an electronic jamming device.
Today, a spokesperson from the Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration, or DAPA, came out to officially deny any stealing of US weapons technology by Korean defense firms, as the
"We've checked with each and every related defense company," said Oh Tae-shik, head of the DAPA's program management agency. "They've confirmed that there has been no investigation from the US or any mishandling of U.S. technologies on their part."
Oh explained that if a US government agency wanted to look into South Korean firms, it would have officially asked for cooperation from the South's government, but there has been no such request.”
"With the Aegis combat systems used on destroyers, we're building them in South Korea with U.S. technicians on hand as supervisors," Oh said. "These technicians have said they've experienced no problem in technology control."
Even though there has not been an official US investigation into the alleged weapons intelligence theft, the
quotes a local military source as saying that the US “is responding sensitively to the increase in our arms exports and that it's holding our exports of weapons made with U.S. technological assistance strongly in check.”
It turns out that South Korea had planned to sell its ALQ-200 radar-jamming system to Pakistan
, but quickly scuttled those plans when the US expressed reservations.
America, then, is basically caught between a rock and a hard place, Since the end of the Cold War, European nations have dramatically slashed their defense budgets, which means firms like Boeing and Lockheed Martin have looked towards new, emerging markets like South Korea, which is now the world’s third-largest arms importer.
As the saying goes, all's fair in love and war. And defense contracting.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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