Wednesday, November 23, 2011

DND to prepare list of equipment to be acquired from Korea

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) will prepare a list of equipment that the government would acquire from South Korea after President Aquino sought its assistance in improving the military’s capability.

“This is for the DND so it will be the DND who will specify and make specifications of what exactly is needed as far as the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is concerned,” DND spokesman Zosimo Paredes told reporters yesterday.

Paredes said the drawing up of the list would be done in coordination with the military’s major services.

“We are still awaiting specific instructions from President vis-a-vis the agreement that will be signed,” he said.

Paredes said Aquino’s request for South Korea to help the AFP is significant given the need to boost the military’s capability.

“We welcome other friendly nations to help in this regard. We will not react negatively in terms of defense assistance from friendly countries,” he said.

The military said South Korea has been a “valuable partner” in its upgrade efforts.

“The AFP welcomes President Aquino’s plans to purchase military hardware and defense articles from South Korea,” AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. told The STAR.

“For many years now, South Korea has been a valuable partner of the AFP as we continuously upgrade our capability to address the nation’s security concerns and challenges,” he said.

Burgos said among the military equipment acquired from South Korea were the one-ton and two-ton truck troop carriers and squad automatic weapons.

“The K3 squad automatic weapons from South Korea provide superior firepower for our ground troops in the infantry and are now being used in our internal security operations,” he said.

Burgos said the KM 450 one-ton trucks provide “fast and efficient” troop lift capability to their field units.

“Aside from the one-ton and two-ton truck troop carriers and the squad automatic weapons from South Korea, we also purchased ballistic helmets and Kevlar vests for our troops’ force protection,” he said.

The President requested the assistance of Korean President Lee Myung-Bak in upgrading the AFP during their meeting in MalacaƱang last Monday.

“On defense cooperation, I expressed to President Lee the interest of the Philippines to gain some specific defense articles, such as military-grade helicopters, boats and aircraft,” Aquino told reporters. “This is in consonance with the upgrading and modernization of the AFP.”

‘Ninoy impressed with Koreans’

Meanwhile, Aquino told President Lee over dinner Monday that his father – the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. – was impressed with the strength of character of Koreans.

“I remember during our own Martial Law years, when I was but a mere child, my father, who also first introduced us to Korean cuisine, would relate to the family his stories about the deprivations that your country had to go through,” he said.– With Delon Porcalla

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By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) Updated November 23, 2011 12:00 AM

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