U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter refused to transfer four key technologies needed to build Korea’s KF-X fighter jets despite Korean National Defense Minister Han Min-koo’s appeals Thursday.This is the first time that I've seen the US react to the closer ties between China and S. Korea.
Han accompanied President Park Geun-hye on her first visit to the Department of Defense during a four-day Washington trip leading up to a summit with U.S. President Barack Obama.
In bilateral talks with Carter, Han asked the Pentagon chief to reconsider Washington’s rejection of an export license for key technologies from Lockheed Martin to be transferred to Korea to help develop its indigenous fighter jets over the next decade.
But the U.S. government made clear it wants to preserve its advanced F-35 stealth fighter technology, including an active electronically scanned array (AESA) multifunction radar system, for security reasons.
A Korean defense official told reporters after the talks on Thursday that “Minister Han requested a forward-looking review of the transfer of the technologies for the KF-X project, but Secretary Carter adhered to the position that it would be difficult to transfer the four technologies for the KF-X, even conditionally.”
The S. Koreans want to have it both ways but they're finally STARTING to pay the consequences. Next up? Operational control of forces in their country. The S. Koreans have been fighting it for one simple reason. They know that the moment they assume control is the moment that the US starts reducing the number of forces their. It won't come from the Army or Pentagon either. Current military leadership believes in keeping a large contingent of forces there. The problem for the S. Koreans is the civilian leaders.
With the Army going down to about 10 division's worth of troops and with a division or so permanently attached to ops in the Middle East/Europe (with another division--the 82nd for all intents and purposes on standby for reinforcement), you just don't have much slack left.
One thing is certain. The S. Koreans are stung by this decision and even worse is the fact that they're falling further behind the hated Japanese when it comes to developing a homegrown stealth fighter.