South Korean Defence Industry and Arms Exports: A 12-Month Outlook


    The war in Ukraine accelerated South Korea’s rise as a major arms exporter. In 2022, defence exports skyrocketed to $17.3 billion USD, more than double that of 2021. Growth was mainly due to major purchases from Poland, as it and other European states and the US sought to quickly replenish stockpiles depleted by arms shipments to Ukraine. As the war in Ukraine continues, conflicts in the Middle East intensify, and increased geopolitical competition drives more demand for arms, South Korea is in a strong position to increase its exports in the coming year. [Source; Source; Source]

    Key Judgement 1: South Korean arms exports will highly likely increase compared to 2023.

    Key Judgement 2: South Korea’s defence industry will highly likely strengthen ties with European and Middle Eastern arms importers. 
    Key Judgement 3: Strain on U.S. and European industry will highly likely drive demand for South Korean weapons.

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    Giannis Chouliaras
    Giannis Chouliaras
    Giannis is a graduate of the Intelligence and Security Studies MA at Brunel University, United Kingdom. He also holds a BA in International and European Studies from the University of Piraeus, Greece. His research interests focus on intelligence, Russia and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Middle East geopolitics, and transatlantic relations.

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