Polish Defense Minister Signals Possible Termination of South Korea Arms Deal
The Polish Minister of Defense has made remarks suggesting that a weapons deal with South Korea is not feasible, leading to heightened concerns about contract termination. The claim is that if South Korea’s finances for Poland are blocked, contract fulfillment will be nearly impossible, even though South Korean weapons have the benefit of being purchased immediately.
According to Polish radio station ZET on the 8th, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of Poland, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, said, “We cannot accept the partial loan proposal for the weapons deal offered by South Korea,” and “South Korea’s credit offer is too weak and unenforceable.”
He implied the possibility of calling off the weapons deal, saying, “South Korea’s financial proposal is not attractive enough for us to fulfill.”
“In principle, I am in favor of maintaining the contract,” Minister Kosiniak-Kamysz said. “We can’t repeat the same mistake as the cancellation of the Caracal helicopter contract with Airbus, which was canceled during the Law and Justice (PiS) administration.”
Poland also terminated a $3.5 billion contract to purchase Caracal helicopters from France’s Airbus after the inauguration of a new government in 2016.
He added, “Even though South Korea’s proposal is not attractive, Deputy Minister of Defense Paweł Bejda, who is in charge of weapons purchases, will meet with South Korea for negotiation to maintain the contract.”
Minister Kosiniak-Kamysz has made remarks about contract review even during his time as a lower house member. He emphasized the importance of investing in the Polish defense industry, stating that the deal with South Korea would be examined and evaluated.
In response, former Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said through social media X (formerly Twitter), “The current Ministry of Defense should not complain to the media that South Korea’s proposal is not attractive, but should negotiate with South Korea,” and “the intention of Minister Kosiniak-Kamysz and Defense Secretary Cezary Tomczyk is to stop negotiations on additional fulfillment contracts for the K2 tanks and K9 howitzers.”
He emphasized, “Halting weapons deals with South Korea would harm Poland’s weapons industry and security,” and “Ultimately, both the K2 tanks and K9 self-propelled guns are to be produced in Poland, so the contract must be fulfilled.”
Poland emerged as a major buyer of the Korean defense industry by signing a weapons purchase contract worth 30 trillion won with South Korea. Financial support from the Export-Import Bank (now referred to as the Exim Bank) is necessary to fulfill the weapons contract. The Exim Bank supports export financing required in export-import processes. However, the possibility of invalidating the Polish weapons contract is raised as the Exim Bank’s capital reaches its limit.
At a press conference late last year, new Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk also said, “A significant part of the purchase from South Korea was to be financed through the loan provided by South Korea, but there was a problem,” and “South Korea’s loan to Poland does not exist.”
“South Korean weapons have the great advantage of being able to be purchased immediately, but that’s not the only advantage,” he added. “We will fairly review it to maintain the existing contract.”