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Moon vows to improve three-pillar defense

Oct 18,2017
President Moon Jae-in pledged to bolster Korea’s three-pillar defense system and deploy advanced weapons to improve security against North Korean threats as he attended a large-scale annual air show Tuesday.

“We need the strength to protect peace more than ever before, and to this end, it is essential to secure enhanced, stand-alone capabilities for our aerospace and defense industries,” Moon said in a speech at the opening ceremony for the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) in Seongnam, Gyeonggi, attended by top Korean and foreign defense officials. “We must deploy cutting-edge weapons systems with superior capabilities as soon as possible that can protect our people from North Korean security threats.”

He continued, “Our government will put all efforts into enabling strong security and responsible defense through the early establishment of the Korean three-pillar system,” which consists of the Kill Chain, Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) and Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) systems.

Kill Chain is a strike system designed to preemptively target North Korean missile sites, while KAMD focuses on terminal-phase, low-altitude missile defense and KMPR is designed to attack the North’s leadership if signs of a nuclear attack are detected.

Moon also said South Korea’s defense industry must be more competitive, and that South Korea must boost its exports of advanced weapons and technologies.

“Strengthening the competitiveness of the high-value defense industry will lead to more jobs,” he said, “and it will be a springboard for the defense industry to grow into a new growth engine in the future.”

The president added that Korea already meets a lot of fundamental conditions for this, pointing to its competitive manufacturing industry, globally leading IT technology and capable science and engineering personnel and education system.

“There is a need to expand our perspective and establish joint defense cooperation systems with friendly nations,” said Moon. “We should move beyond developing weapons systems supplying just the Korean military and jointly plan, develop and maintain advanced weapons systems with nations that we have security cooperation with.”

Moon pointed out that Korea has exported $2.3 billion worth of T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer jets, developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), over the past 10 years.

This comes as KAI, the nation’s sole aircraft manufacturer, has been mired in a corruption and embezzlement scandal involving major defense projects.

Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo also attended the ceremony and will be engaging in a series of talks with senior officials from countries including India and Egypt to bolster defense cooperation.

The six-day ADEX kicked off Tuesday at the Seoul Air Base, drawing 405 companies from 33 countries, and runs through Sunday. The exhibition included maneuvers by the Korean Air Force’s Black Eagle aerobatics team, while the U.S. Air Force sent its Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet, along with its F-35A Lightning II, B-1B Lancer and A-10 Thunderbolt II aircrafts.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]