Australia and South Korea ink $680 million defense deal

Getty Images/Associated Press

Australia and South Korea entered a $680 million dollar defense agreement on Monday, the largest ever between the two countries.

Per the agreement, Hanwha, a South Korean defense company, will provide the Australian army with supplies including artillery weapons, supply vehicles and radars, according to The Associated Press.

“The contract that we have signed today, I think, speaks volumes about what we believe are the capabilities of the Korean defense industry,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, per the wire service.

The contract with Hanwha would create roughly 300 jobs in Australia, the AP reported.

Also, South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s trip marked the first time a foreign leader has visited Australia since the pandemic began. 

Moon and Morrison agreed to forge a “comprehensive strategic partnership” in addition to working collaboratively on clean energy technology and facilitating the supply of critical minerals, the AP noted.

The contract comes as Australia recently announced it would construct nuclear-powered submarines alongside the U.S. and Britain, a partnership known as AUKUS, which China has staunchly opposed.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific coordinator, Kurt Campbell, said that China has attempted to “break” Australia through “dramatic economic warfare.” 

“China’s preference would have been to break Australia, to drive Australia to its knees,” he said. 

Since the middle of last year, China has blocked some Australian imports in what is thought to be retaliation for Australia repressing foreign investment and asking questions about COVID-19’s origins.

Tags AUKUS Australia Hanwha South Korea

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