South Korea-Philippines Military Relations in Focus With New Firearms Agreement,
Late last month, two arms companies from South Korea and the Philippines signed a joint agreement. Although the scope of initial cooperation in the agreement only covers firearms, it remains focused on ongoing activities in the defense aspects of the Philippines-South Korea relationship.
As I noted earlier in these pages, South Korea has become a major partner for the Philippines because of its efforts to improve its limited defense capabilities. Although defense relations cover a variety of fields, including exchanges, visits and training, aspects that receive public attention are defense agreements involving Seoul, whether fighter jets or frigates, which are the main items in the Philippine military modernization.
The development of defense relations continues through 2018. Indeed, defense collaboration was on the agenda in June, when Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte paid his first visit to South Korea since coming back to office in 2016. At that time, he and his delegation interacted with the Korean Defense Establishment South as well as selected companies, including S & T Motiv, which is South Korea’s biggest weapons maker.
In late September, this aspect of the relationship was highlighted again by the signing of an agreement between the Philippines and South Korean companies. S & T Motiv signed an agreement with a US company, United Defense Manufacturing Corporation (UDMIC), the Philippines’ largest rifle maker, which has provided weapons to the military and Philippine law enforcement officers.
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