According to a US official, Washington intends to purchase 100,000 artillery shells made in South Korea for use in the conflict in Ukraine, despite the fact that South Korea has maintained its policy against providing Ukraine with lethal aid and that it anticipates US forces will be the final users of the ammunition.
The Wall Street Journal claimed that the US and South Korea were close to reaching an agreement to purchase 100,000 rounds of 155mm artillery shells that would be shipped to Ukraine, citing US sources involved with the deal.
Responding to reports on the ammunition deal, South Korea’s defence ministry said on Friday that its position on not providing lethal aid to Ukraine remained unchanged, and its “confidential” negotiations on the sale of the artillery shells were being conducted “under the premise that the US is the end user”.
“In order to make up for the shortage of 155mm ammunition inventories in the US, negotiations are ongoing between the US and Korean companies to export ammunition,” the ministry said in a statement.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday that the country’s defence minister Lee Jong-sup and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had “agreed ‘in principle’ to proceed with the artillery deal” during talks earlier this month.
“But the allies are having related talks under the premise that the materials will be used by the US,” Yonhap reported, citing a statement from the country’s defence ministry.
The ministry added that the South Korean government had not altered its commitment to refrain from supplying Ukraine with lethal weapons, Yonhap said.
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