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Treat Commander of UAE Air Force as a National Guest

Posted January. 31, 2005 23:07,   


The government and the Republic of Korea Air Force (R.O.K.A.F.) plan to treat the commander of the UAE Air Force and Air Defense, Khalid, with much courtesy. He will visit Korea for four nights and five days starting from January 31.

Commander Khalid is just a Major General in terms of rank. However, he will meet with military chief executives including Minister of National Defense Yoon Kwang-ung, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Kim Jong-hwan, and Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) Chief of Staff Lee Han-ho, and high-ranking officials including Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan and Minister of Commerce, Energy and Industry Lee Hee-bum.

Prime Minister Lee will confer a symbolic decoration to Khalid. ROKAF Chief of Staff Lee is paying exceptional attention to him, holding an honor guard event for the UAE mission to Korea in person and accompanying the commander of the UAE Air Force and Air Defense while he inspects troops under his command.

The government and high-ranking officials are treating him with much courtesy because the UAE is a powerful potential buyer of the T-50 supersonic trainer. Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) mass produced the T-50 starting from last October and plans to transfer 90 T-50s to the ROKAF through 2011.

The issue is future exports. The government and the ROKAF have actively promoted exports of T-50s, for which they spent several trillions of won on in development costs, targeting Turkey, Israel, Greece, and the UAE. This is the first time that a chief executive of the air force of these countries has visited Korea. The assessment of Khalid will play a decisive role in exporting T-50s in the near future.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com