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Why the ruling party opposes KFX audit proposal?

Posted November. 27, 2015 10:45,   


A vote on the audit request about the Korean Fighter Experiment (KFX) project, which was filed by the National Defense Committee under the National Assembly of Korea, was postponed on Wednesday. The audit request, which was proposed under the name of Defense Committee Chairman Chung Doo-un, calls for the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) to inspect the Ministry of National Defense and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) to determine why they failed in the technology transfer from the U.S. military and who is to be held accountable. On the surface, the vote was postponed because there were “many other agendas to be discussed on the same day,” but given that most lawmakers of the ruling Saenuri Party are against the proposal, it is very unlikely to pass the plenary parliament session.

The U.S. has repeatedly refused to transfer technologies for the KFX project, making it difficult to complete the project on schedule by 2025. Given the circumstances, it is hard to understand why the ruling party, which is in charge of governing the national affairs, is unwilling to clear up the truth. It has been reported the ruling party is concerned that a BAI inspection may make it even harder to facilitate the KFX project. Tracing back, the current controversy may put National Security Office (NSO) chief Kim Kwan-jin in a tight spot, who was involved in the project when he was the defense minister. President Park Geun-hye personally encouraged this project. It is not far-fetched to assume that the Saenuri Party is reluctant to audit the project in fear of the president.

DAPA Director Jang Myeong-jin told the committee that even “he was flustered” with the U.S. request to have detailed consultations on the 21 items of technology that were expected to get the approval readily within the month. National Defense Minister Han Min-koo said, “I cannot say for sure that the transfer will be executed by December.” Given such remarks, it is reasonable to conclude that Jang lied to the president when he said there would be no problems in the technology transfer during his report on Oct. 27. The president was lied to, so were the Korean people.

In addition to talking the U.S. into approving the technology transfer, it is vital to identify our own problems and address them first in order to execute the KFX project successfully. The largest procurement project in Korea worth 18 trillion won (1.56 million U.S. dollars) is on the verge of breaking down, and we need an objective inspection to accurately identify what caused such a fiasco. The inconsistent explanations of the military and the acquisition administration, which are under the protection of the ruling party, will not do any good to national interests. The ruling Saenuri Party needs to assume the responsibility to oversee the project in hand lest it should make another corruption scandal linked to a defense procurement project.