Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have signed a $680m defence deal.
Worth about 1 billion Australian dollars, the deal was signed on Monday during a four-day visit by Moon to Canberra. The South Korean president is the first foreign leader to visit Australia since the pandemic began.
The new defence deal will see South Korean defence company Hanwha provide the Australian army with artillery weapons, supply vehicles and radars.
It is the largest defence contract struck between Australia and an Asian nation, and comes at a time of heightened tensions between Australia and China.
Australia recently announced a deal to build nuclear-powered submarines in a partnership, dubbed AUKUS, with the United States and the United Kingdom — a move that China has strongly condemned.
Morrison said the new defence contract would create about 300 jobs in Australia, where a division of Hanwha operates.
“The contract that we have signed today, I think, speaks volumes about what we believe are the capabilities of the Korean defence industry,” he said.
“It’s an important further chapter in the defence industry story for Australia as we continue to build our sovereign capability and Korea is an important partner in that journey – both in our security arrangements, but also in the building of our sovereign capability in defense manufacturing.”
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