Visit of Yoon Suk Yeol to kyiv: “What is at stake for South Korea is to appear as a security partner in the eyes of Europeans”, says researcher Antoine Bondaz

“What is at stake for South Korea is to appear as a security partner in the eyes of Europeans”, estimated Saturday July 15 on BlazeTrends Antoine Bondaz, researcher at the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS), teacher at Sciences-Po Paris and great specialist in Asia. And this while South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol promised on Saturday July 15 to“increase the magnitude” humanitarian aid and non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine, after a summit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.

>> War in Ukraine: Volodymyr Zelensky thanks the President of South Korea for his “strong support” during his first visit

BlazeTrends: Why is South Korea currently refusing to send weapons to Ukraine?

Antoine Bondaz: It is not the habit of South Korea to do this. On the political level, the country refuses to deliver armaments to a country at war, a little like Germany until the war in Ukraine, with a major difference between Berlin and Seoul: Berlin, since then, has changed its policy , while Seoul, officially, does not change its policy. We are therefore in a form of ambiguity in South Korea, even if there are in fact arms deliveries, which are made through third countries, in particular Poland, but also the United States. There are regular debates in South Korea, but there are constraints in Seoul, especially the relationship with Russia, which can have a negative influence on the Korean peninsula, through North Korea. For South Korea, what is at stake in the eyes of Europeans, in particular, is to appear as a security partner, including military, of the first rank, at a time when the Korean defense industry is internationalizing at an extremely rapid rate. In the 2010s, South Korea was about 2.5 billion arms contracts each year, last year it was 17 billion euros and dollars worth of contracts. We now have a major player in the defense industry, and which on the European continent is now a major player.

What are South Koreans delivering to Ukraine?

These include artillery ammunition, 155mm, which is compatible with what is used in Ukraine. South Korean defense is first and foremost a land defense, to deal with the North Korean threat, so we have military equipment developed in South Korea which is perfectly suited to Ukraine’s needs, and which is partly of them compatible. South Korea is a country where the industry is capable of stepping up and producing massively. We have been in fact, for decades, in a war economy in South Korea, which is not the case in Europe.

South Korea is both a historical ally of the United States and has economic interests in Russia: is there a kind of balancing act?

Read Also:  The search for the body of the man killed by a police officer in San Antonio was interrupted by rain

There are economic interests in Russia, one thinks for example of gas imports and exports of LNG carriers, for the major shipyards of South Korea, but Seoul’s priority interests are above all on the side of Washington and Brussels. . So we have a gradual evolution of the South Korean position.

“There is also a Ukrainian offensive to succeed in convincing South Korean public opinion”

Antoine Bondaz, researcher

at BlazeTrends

We had the visit of the Ukrainian First Lady to Seoul, now the visit of the South Korean president with his wife to Ukrainian territory. It is also a symbol that today more than ever, the security and prosperity of the Euro-Atlantic theater is linked to the security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific theatre. Hence this convergence of interests, illustrated by the presence of the South Korean president but also of the Japanese, Australian and New Zealand prime ministers at the NATO summit in Vilnius a few days ago. We have always had a South Korean desire to have a balancing act between Beijing and Washington, in particular because public opinion in South Korea is extremely critical of China, which is stepping up pressure, including through economic coercion. South Korea is realigning itself, getting even closer to the United States, Japan also in a relatively new way. There is a strengthening of cooperation between Seoul and European countries. The South Korean President’s visit to Poland, which has just ended, was extremely important.

Why is the South Korean President’s visit to Ukraine important?

It is important to show that this war in Ukraine does not only concern Europeans. South Korea is a member of the G20, it is the 10th world power: the objective is to demonstrate that the fate of Ukraine concerns the whole world and not just European countries. There is also this issue of deliveries either of ammunition or of weapon systems, and the need for Ukraine to find suppliers when the Americans and the Europeans sometimes have trouble either keeping their promises or setting up in production at home.

>> War in Ukraine: the counter-offensive “is not advancing so quickly”, admits the Ukrainian presidency

Is the delivery of arms by South Korea to Ukraine in the more or less near future totally excluded?

It is not excluded, there will be more and more pressure as Western arms deliveries slow down, or are delayed, and as Ukraine’s needs to lead the counter-offensive will be important. There is an evolution of the debate in South Korea, the need for public opinion to socialize with these questions. What was not possible a few months ago could become so in a few weeks.

Recent Articles

Related News

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here