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U.S. to consider sale of strategic surveillance aircraft to S. Korea

U.S. to consider sale of strategic surveillance aircraft to S. Korea

Posted November. 03, 2017 07:27,   

Updated November. 03, 2017 09:01


South Korea officially requested during an annual Security Consultative Meeting with the United States late last month that Washington sell its E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) surveillance aircraft, a South Korean government source said Thursday.

According to the source, Seoul expressed its intent to purchase sophisticated U.S. weapons systems including the JSTARS, during the meeting. South Korean defense officials, including Defense Minister Song Young-moo, cited the JSTARS as a top priority system with which to cope with North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.

The JSTARS radar aircraft is a highly strategic weapon of which the United States strictly bans overseas sale. However, Washington responded by expressing its will to positively consider the request. In a joint statement after the security meeting, the two allies agreed to strengthen cooperation in the South Korean military’s acquisition of state-of-the-art U.S. weapons systems.

The JSTART, which played key roles in the Gulf War and Iraq War, was deployed to South Korea in November 2010 for the first time to closely monitor the North Korean military’s movement immediately after the North’s artillery attack on South Korea’s frontline island of Yeonpyeong Island. It was also deployed to South Korea during last month’s joint naval exercise on the South Korean waters, along with a U.S. nuclear powered aircraft carrier battle group.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com