Posted August. 22, 2007 06:20,
It has been confirmed that the Korean government asked the Russian government to repay loans taken out by the former Soviet Union by giving Korea helicopters produced in Russia. This is a part the measures proposed in the Third Bulgom Project of the government.
According to sources from the military on August 21, Chief of Naval Operations Song Yeong-moo met high-ranking military officers in Russia during his visit to Russia in the middle of this month and informed that the Korean government is considering writing off a portion of the loans taken out by the Soviet Union in exchange for 30 Russian helicopters and accessories.
The Russian government is reportedly warm to the proposal.
Meanwhile, in late 2006, the Ministry of National Defense had included landing utility helicopters and search and rescue helicopters on its list of items that it wanted to purchase from Russia.
In addition, the Marine Corps wants a force that can carry out landing operations independently, equipped with attack helicopters and assault helicopter squadrons, by 2015.
Experts predict that the helicopters will be Ka-32 or Mi-38 types, which are often used in multiple roles.
Considering the high price of Russian helicopters (priced from 7 billion won to 10 billion won) and other accessories, the loan write-off total is expected to be hundreds of billions of won.
Russia owes 1.33 billion dollars (equivalent to 1.2630 trillion won). Under a treaty signed by two governments in 2003, the Russian government has to repay all of it from 2007 through 2009.
Despite this, the Russian government has consistently asked the Korean government to offset the loan by accepting goods. The Korean government seems to have accepted this request this time.
Given that the government is expanding the portion of the loans being repaid in military goods, the import of Russian military equipment is expected to grow.