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07:23 AM, November 8, 2017
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S Korea Eyes Oman, UAE, Lebanon for Weapons Sales After Def Minister Visit
South Korean Naval Ships in Gulf of Aden

Defense Minister Song Young-moo discussed defence cooperation and equipment sales with Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Lebanon where South Korean troops are based during his visit last week.

Song met with Oman Defense Minister Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Harib Al Busaidi in Muscat on Saturday where South Korea's Cheonghae Unit, deployed in the Gulf of Aden to counter pirates, is based.

According to a Yonhap report quoting the South Korean defence ministry, Sayyid Badr took great interest in South Korean weaponry, including the K-9 self-propelled howitzer and nava destroyers.

Song thanked Oman for its support during the Cheonghae Unit's operation in 2011 to rescue the South Korean freighter Samho Jewelry, which had been captured by Somali pirates.

Song also met with defense officials in the UAE, where South Korea's Akh Unit has been stationed since 2011, and discussed the expansion of the two countries' cooperation in the defense industry.

The tour also took Song to Lebanon, where he met with his Lebanese counterpart Yacoub Sarraf. Lebanon is home to South Korea's Dongmyeong Unit.

While South Korea has been notching up defence export success in Asia and even Africa, it has not been able to break into the highly lucrative Middle East market frequently ravaged by wars and conficts where demand for equipment is the gr.eatest.

A South Korean defense ministry official said Song's visit to the three nations should lead to "tangible benefits" in regards to South Korea's defense industry exports.

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