SEOUL: South Korea’s chief of the state arms procurement agency has held talks with Malaysia’s defence minister on ways to expand arms industry cooperation, his office said on Monday, amid Seoul’s drive to clinch more defence deals with Southeast Asian countries.

Yonhap News Agency reported that the South Korean Minister of the Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) Seok Jong Gun (pix), met the Malaysian Defense Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin on the margins of the Defence Service Asia Exhibition and Conference in Kuala Lumpur last Tuesday.

According to a statement by the DAPA, the two sides discussed current progress in South Korea’s exports of FA-50 light attack aircraft to Malaysia after Korea Aerospace Industries signed a deal last May to supply 18 FA-50s to Kuala Lumpur.

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It said that they also held talks on more exports of the jet and agreed to explore possible exports of South Korea’s K239 Chunmoo rocket artillery systems and the Cheongung-II mid-range surface-air-to missile system.

Seok also met defence officials from Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand for talks on ways to strengthen defence and arms industry cooperation, said in the statement.

DAPA also noted that Philippine officials expressed interest in South Korea’s KF-21 fighter jet under development, the FA-50, and submarines, while talks with Vietnamese officials focused on the K-9 self-propelled howitzer, which Vietnam has expressed interest in.

South Korea aims to secure US$20 billion worth of arms exports this year, compared with US$14 billion of defence export contracts clinched last year.

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