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According to Yonhap News,
(Seoul = Yonhap News) By Chang Jae-soon
South Korea signed a defense cooperation pact with Poland on Tuesday, laying the groundwork for exporting homegrown trainer jets and other military hardware to the European nation seeking to modernize its armed forces.
The agreement was signed after South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski held summit talks in Seoul and agreed to upgrade relations between the two countries to a "strategic partnership."
"We, the two leaders, found it encouraging that cooperation between the two countries is expanding to the defense area and we welcomed the signing of the defense cooperation pact," Park said during a joint news conference with Komorowski after the summit talks.
The pact calls for greater exchanges in defense planning, exercises, industry and other areas.
Komorowski arrived in South Korea on Monday in his first trip to the country since taking office in 2010. The Polish president is also the first European head of state to make a state visit to South Korea since Park came into office in February.
Poland is seeking to boost defense spending, with this year's defense budget rising 7 percent to US$9.5 billion from last year. The country reportedly plans to spend US$43 billion in the next 10 years for big procurement projects, such as a missile-defense system, naval vessels and training aircraft.
One of the items South Korea plans to export is the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer jet. In 2011, Seoul signed a $400 million deal to export 16 T-50 jets, and is in negotiations with the Philippines to seal a deal to sell a dozen FA-50 fighter jets, a variant of the T-50.
During the summit, Park briefed Komorowski on the high quality of Korean-made trainer jets and submarines, expressing hope that his visit would provide momentum for expanding cooperation in the defense industry, said Ju Chul-ki, senior presidential foreign affairs secretary.
Komorowski said in response that he is well aware of South Korea's excellence in the defense industry, adding that Poland has created a budget to modernize the country's armed forces, but there are still many restrictions, according to the secretary.
The two countries issued a joint declaration on the establishment of a "strategic partnership," a diplomatic term that usually refers to ties that are close enough to cooperate on security, global issues and other topics beyond simply seeking economic interests from each other.
In the declaration, the sides pledged to boost cooperation in all areas, including political and security areas. In particular, the sides expressed grave concern about North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and the communist nation being recognized as a nuclear weapons state.
They also urged Pyongyang to comply with all U.N. Security Council resolutions as well as its own denuclearization commitments, and abandon its nuclear and missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, according to the declaration.
Poland also expressed support for Park's efforts to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula through her trademark "Korean Peninsula trust process."
The two countries also signed a revision to the bilateral double taxation prevention pact. Park said the revised agreement will contribute to energizing mutual investments in each other's nation, and asked the Polish government for support for Korean firms operating in the European nation.
Komorowski promised to improve Poland's investment environment.
The Polish president also invited Park to visit his country and Park agreed to do so.
Copyrights Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved.
Source: Yonhap News (Oct. 22, 2013)