By Hyonhee Shin
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea reached an settlement final month to mortgage america 500,000 rounds of 155mm artillery shells, which might give Washington extra flexibility in supplying Ukraine with ammunition, a South Korean newspaper reported on Wednesday.
DongA Ilbo newspaper quoted unnamed authorities sources as saying South Korea determined to “borrow” the ammunition as a substitute of promoting it to attenuate the potential of South Korean shells getting used within the Ukraine battle.
The borrowed shells have been stated for use primarily by america to replenish their stockpiles.
After shopping for 100,000 rounds of shells final yr, the US authorities requested in February to purchase the identical quantity or extra, however the South Korean authorities was in search of one other solution to get the ammunition to its allies.
“We determined to considerably enhance the quantity of shells however select the rental methodology after learning how to answer the Blood Ally’s request in good religion whereas adhering to the Governing Precept, Ukraine none provide lethal weapons,” an unnamed supply stated.
Each Seoul and Washington have beforehand confirmed that they’re negotiating an artillery provide deal, however there was no official phrase on whether or not an settlement has been finalized.
South Korea’s Protection Ministry stated the allies had been exploring methods to assist Ukraine defend its freedom however declined to verify particular talks.
The US State Division didn’t instantly remark.
Overseas Minister Park Jin informed reporters that he couldn’t verify the newspaper report, however added that the federal government’s place towards offering deadly assist to Ukraine stays unchanged, Yonhap information company stated.
The report got here after leaked top-secret US navy paperwork highlighted South Korea’s difficulties in withstanding stress from Western allies to assist ship navy assist to Ukraine and its personal coverage of staying out of the battle.
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South Korea is a key US ally and a significant artillery munitions producer, however has been cautious to not anger Russia given Moscow’s financial ties and affect over North Korea.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who’s visiting Washington for a summit with US President Joe Biden this month, stated Seoul has not supplied Ukraine with deadly weapons and can as a substitute develop humanitarian assist.
(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Further reporting by Soo-hyang Choi in Seoul; Enhancing by Simon Cameron-Moore)