Last Pentagon chief Bill Cowan met behind closed doors with the Minister of Defense of South Korea’s Kim Kwang-jin. Taking into account the current situation in Korea and the imminent entry of a new president in office, South Korean newspaper «Jungang Ilbo» suggested that the Yankees tried to exert pressure on Seoul in order to assure Washington won the tender for the purchase of fighter jets and drones for the South Korean Air Force.
Recall that the South Korean government under the Air Force’s own re-announced a tender for the supply of 60 new combat vehicles. Korea for a record amount of defense contract — 8.29 trillion won (about 7.81 billion U.S. dollars) — this project is called the «deal of the century.» The main contenders are two American concern — Lockheed Martin with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Boeing with the F-15 SE Silent Eagle, as European group EADS, offering aircraft Eurofighter.
From the outset, became overgrown tender scandals. The press has open charges in the address of President Lee Myung-bak that he promised Barack Obama victory with Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft. Of course, the Washington lobbying sale of F-35, because it needs to finance this project for its own defense industry.
But over the F-35 series of oscillations appeared against fighter fighting properties. Eventually the pressure of public opinion and a number of reasons impartial official Seoul decided to defer a decision on the choice of favorite tender. Now it will make the brand new government headed by President Park Keun Hye.
Apart from the «deal of the century» USA also expects to realize Seoul and four UAVs Global Hawk. But there is also the problem: Washington expects to receive almost three times more for a car (about 1.1 billion U.S. dollars), Seoul than willing to pay (about $ 410 million). In the South are already read that «it is better to think about the nominations in the face of European or other American» drone «.
«Jungang Ilbo» notes a number of suspicious features Cowan visit to Seoul that once «leads to some reflections.» Traveled politician who in 1997-2001. served as Minister of Defense, there was one moment and without any obvious reason. Interview with the head of the military department of South Korea Kim Kwang-jin held only in the presence of 2-translators in total secrecy. And almost two days later, Kim was due to the report of the president-elect to lay out the main challenges in the field of defense, including the planned arms purchases.
«Cowan asked for a meeting as the last head of the defense ministry,» — explained the representative of the Ministry of Defense of South Korea, refused to provide other details of the meeting. At the same time, another senior officer of the Ministry of Defense of Korea acknowledged that Kim and Cohen discussed including projects for the purchase of new weapons for the army of South Korea.
Given all the hype around the «deal of the century», very «big winner» favorite for tenders as early visit Kim to elect the president and publication suggests that Cowan may be lobbied to buy F-35 fighters and «drones» Global Hawk, asking all present «in the best light» Pak Kin for Xe.
The publication recognizes that such pressure from Washington if it was, that most likely «indirect», but notes some atypical formally communicate personal face of U.S. Defense Minister of South Korea, «suspicious coincidence» and other features of the meeting.