South Korea and the United States have entered into an arrangement designed to prioritize the supply of defense-related materials and goods to each other, Seoul's arms procurement agency said Friday, in a move to bolster their security supply chain resiliency.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration and the US Department of Defense signed the Security of Supply Arrangement, allowing the two sides to request from one another priority delivery for orders of defense-related goods.
The arrangement came as Seoul has been striving to bolster defense under its mantra of "peace through strength" with Washington seeking to secure defense supply chains amid Russia's war in Ukraine, and the war between Israel and the Hamas militant group.
"(South Korea) is expected to receive US defense resources preferentially, benefiting timely deployment and operation rate of weapons systems in the country," DAPA said in an English-language release.
In a separate release, the Pentagon said that SOSA, a non-binding arrangement, will enable both allies to acquire the industrial resources they need to quickly meet defense requirements, resolve unanticipated disruptions that challenge defense capabilities and promote supply chain resiliency.
"This SOSA represents another important step forward in the seven-decade defense relationship between the US and the Republic of Korea, strengthening the resiliency and security of our national defense programs, and furthering opportunity for future, long-term collaboration," William LaPlante, under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, was quoted as saying.
The signing comes after President Yoon Suk Yeol and US President Joe Biden agreed to strengthen partnerships in defense supply chains during their summit in Seoul in May last year.
The two countries have also begun talks to sign a bilateral Reciprocal Defense Procurement Agreement, which is aimed at easing access to the signatories' defense markets.
The US has signed the arrangement with allies and partners to better facilitate access to key defense sector supplies. With the latest signing, it has entered into the arrangement with 16 countries, including Britain and Japan. (Yonhap)