S. Korea installs task force to pursue arms procurement accord with U.S

SEOUL– South Korea launched an interagency task force Friday to prepare for an envisioned arms procurement deal with the United States, Seoul’s defense ministry said.

The launch came after President Yoon Suk-yeol and his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, agreed during their May summit in Seoul to begin discussions on the Reciprocal Defense Procurement Agreement (RDP-A) as part of efforts to strengthen cooperation in defense supply chains and other areas.

The agreement, if signed, would ease some trade barriers for arms exports between the two countries. But concerns have emerged that it could put South Korean defense suppliers at a disadvantage.

Vice Defense Minister Shin Beom-chul presided over the inaugural session of the team consisting of some 20 members, including officials from the ministries of foreign affairs and industry, as well as the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.

“The South Korea-U.S. RDP-A is expected to serve as an opportunity for the local arms industry to take a leap forward and develop,” Shin was quoted as saying by his office. “(The task force) plans to focus its capabilities so that local arms companies’ positions are well reflected.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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