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“South Korea and Qatar establish institutional framework for defense cooperation”

Defense Minister Shin Won Sik held a meeting with Qatari Minister of State for Defense Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah

They signed an MOU to regularly convene defense ministerial meetings

Following his tour of three Middle Eastern countries, Defense Minister Shin Won Sik returned to South Korea

He secured significant achievements in defense cooperation and the defense industry


On February 6th (local time), at the Qatar Defense


The defense ministries of Korea and Qatar have committed to establishing a formal basis for defense cooperation by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).


On February 7, the Defense Ministry reported that Minister Shin Won Sik, the first Korean defense minister to do so, engaged in a ministerial defense meeting in Qatar. During this meeting, which took place on February 6 (local time), they addressed key bilateral security and defense concerns.


On the same day, Minister Shin made a courtesy visit to the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, emphasizing the importance of enhancing bilateral defense and defense industry cooperation. This push for deeper collaboration builds on the trust established between the leaders of the two nations during President Yoon Suk Yeol's visit to Qatar last November. This year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Korea and Qatar.


Minister Shin and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah held discussions on bolstering defense and defense industry cooperation between Korea and Qatar. In their meeting, an MOU was signed to form a defense cooperation joint committee, which aims at facilitating regular ministerial meetings on defense. The goal of this initiative is to forge a strong institutional basis for defense collaboration, focusing on increasing exchanges among defense institutions, executing joint training programs, and enhancing cooperation in defense science and technology.


This concludes Minister Shin's tour of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. During the defense ministerial meeting between Korea and the UAE, both parties reviewed the achievements of their 15-year defense cooperation and committed to fostering a forward-looking partnership. Furthermore, they reaffirmed their commitment to ongoing defense and defense industry collaboration, emphasizing their status as special strategic partners.


During his visit to Saudi Arabia, Minister Shin held discussions with both the Minister of the National Guard and the Minister of Defense, and also participated in the World Defense Show (WDS) 2024 in Riyadh. He signed an MOU with the Saudi Defense Ministry to foster long-term cooperation in the defense industry. Furthermore, in his meeting with the Minister of the National Guard, they agreed to enhance personnel exchanges and joint military exercises, aiming to bolster bilateral security and contribute to global peace.


During his visit to Qatar, Minister Shin formalized bilateral defense cooperation by signing an MOU for a Korea-Qatar defense cooperation joint committee, establishing a foundational framework for collaboration. .


Additionally, at the WDS—the Middle East's premier international defense industry exhibition—Minister Shin, attending by official invitation from Saudi Arabia, explored the Korean defense firms' exhibition hall. There, he engaged in detailed discussions with company representatives aimed at boosting defense exports.


Speaking at the exhibition, Minister Shin highlighted Korea's significant progress in the defense industry, noting that since President Yoon Suk Yeol's inauguration, the country has reached annual defense exports of USD 15 billion. He outlined an ambitious goal for Korea to become the world's fourth-largest defense exporter by 2027, through diversifying its weapon systems and expanding into new markets. Minister Shin expressed his confidence in achieving this target, attributing the success to the dedication of defense companies and the unwavering support from the Korean people, who have placed their trust in the government's direction.


The fruitful outcome of his endeavors was evident in the weapon system exports achieved during his visit. At the Korea-Saudi Arabia defense ministerial meeting, a ceremonial acknowledgment took place for a contract signed last November between Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry and LIG Nex1. This significant contract, valued at USD 3.2 billion (KRW 4.25 trillion), encompasses the supply of 10 Cheongung-II medium-range surface-to-air missile (M-SAM) batteries.


According to a Defense Ministry official, the visit to these three countries has either demonstrated substantial cooperation in the defense industry or highlighted their considerable potential for such collaboration. The trip has set the groundwork for enduring and strategic partnerships in both defense and defense industry sectors.

By Hyun-woo, Seo <>

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