By Jung Sung-ki
South Korea is preparing to make all-out efforts to promote and market its indigenous weapons systems to foreign nations during the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2009, opening next Tuesday.
A total of 273 defense firms and agencies from 27 nations around the world will participate in the weeklong event to be held from Oct. 20 to 25 at Seongnam Airport in Gyeonggi Province.
About 80 military chiefs and procurement representatives from 47 nations will attend to look at world-class South Korean defense goods as well as discuss bilateral ties, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said Friday.
"Our military will utilize next week's air show to expand the country's defense exports and establish stronger ties with high-profile foreign defense firms," the agency said in a news release.
"The DAPA will focus on promoting our defense goods overseas through a series of meetings with participating foreign leaders."
Among the high-profile participants are the Malaysian defense minister, the chairman of the Ecuadorian Joint Chiefs of Staff, Turkey's arms procurement chief, Russia's air force chief of staff, a British procurement representative and a Saudi Arabian engineer commander.
Defense Minister Kim Tae-young is scheduled to meet with foreign delegates from Turkey, Malaysia and Russia, while Gen. Lee Sang-eui, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will hold meetings with delegates from Ecuador, Sri Lanka and Colombia, according to the release.
Vice Defense Minister Chang Soo-man will meet with the Mongolian delegation. DAPA Commissioner Byun Moo-keun will meet with delegates from 15 nations, including Turkey, Libya, Thailand and Jordan.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Han Min-okk and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Lee Kye-hoon will also join hands to promote the sale of South Korean arms overseas, through meetings with foreign delegates.
Key South Korean weapons systems include the KT-1 basic trainer aircraft, T-50 supersonic trainer jet, K-2 main battle tank, K-9 self-propelled howitzer, K-10 ammunition resupply vehicle and the Surion utility helicopter.
This year's show, often dubbed the Seoul Air Show, has been designed to include the exhibition of ground weapons systems in a bid to attract more attention from the world's defense procurement officials.
Previously, the annual ``Defense Asia'' festival organized by the Army showcased ground weapons systems.