New Defense market report from Business Monitor International: "South Korea Defence & Security Report Q3 2013"
Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/05/2013 -- The inauguration of President Park Geun-hye in February 2013 is unlikely to improve the tense security dynamic on the Korean peninsula. Although Park campaigned for the presidency on a platform of re-engaging with the North, Pyongyang's decision to test a third nuclear weapon just weeks before Park was due to take office left her with no choice but to adopt a tougher position. Her administration's new North Korean policy is now being described as 'Trustpolitik': Park has said that she rejects "talks for talks' sake", but that she will respond positively to any concrete steps taken by the North.
Park certainly appears to be outmanoeuvring the North Korean leadership politically. She made a visit to Washington in Q2 which was widely regarded as a major success: her rapport with President Obama was very good, and she made a good impression when she addressed Congress in fluent English. Park is now also due to visit China on a state visit in June. She is understood to know President Xi Jinping well, and her trip comes at a time when relations between Beijing and Pyongyang are frosty, after the North ignored Chinese pleas for restraint on the nuclear issue. Park now has a good opportunity to win over the Chinese leadership, and to persuade Xi that Chinese pressure can help force the North Koreans into restarting the denuclearisation process.
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While the implications of Trustpolitik gradually become clear, Seoul will stick faithfully to its long-term policy of heavy military expenditure. In Q2 it confirmed plans to procure the Boeing AH-64E Guardian - the newest Apache variant - for up to US$3.6bn. In Q2/Q3 it is also expected to announce the selection of a new fighter aircraft from a field including the Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle, the Eurofighter Typhoon, and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. The procurement will cost US$7bn, not including through-life costs. Seoul is also acquiring four Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawks - high-endurance UAVs - for around US$1.2bn in order to boost its ability to monitor the North. In Q2, aerospace firm KAI also scooped a $1bn order for FA-50 light fighter from the Korean air force.
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