MAC: Mines and Communities

S. Korean Companies "Exported Arms Technology to Burma"

Published by MAC on 2006-12-06

S. Korean Companies "Exported Arms Technology to Burma"

Yeni: Irrawaddy-on-line

6th December 2006

Fourteen high-ranking officials from seven South Korean companies, including Daewoo International President Lee Tae-yong, have been indicted on charges of involvement in the construction of arms factories in Burma and other related offences, the South Korean press reported on Wednesday.

The 14 were charged with violating strategic goods regulations and fabricating export documents, according to the English-language Seoul newspaper The Korea Times. It is the first time Korean companies have been named in legal action involving the unauthorized export of strategic goods and technology that could be used to build arms factories overseas.

Quoting a source in the Seoul public prosecutor's office, the newspaper reported that the companies-including Daewoo International and Doosan Infracore-had completed contracts with Burma to "export plant facilities, machines and technology information which can be used to make various cannon weapons." Government agents had uncovered the contacts with Burma, the newspaper said.

Ninety percent of the contracted weapons-producing factories had been built and 90 percent of contract deposits had been paid, the report disclosed. Daewoo International was identified as the core company involved in the activity as it was in charge of planning the projects and overseeing technology counseling. Doosan Infracore provided the equipment to build the factories. No further details were given in the report.

Following increasing pressure and criticism, the South Korean government tightened export controls over strategic goods, covering items such as equipment, technologies, software and chemicals.

Officials from the public prosecutor's office searched Daewoo offices in August.

The public prosecutor's office said evidence had been uncovered indicating detonating devices for artillery shells were to be exported. But Daewoo-engaged in developing Burmese offshore gas fields in the Bay of Bengal-claimed that the exported goods were lathes and press machines.

South Korea is a participant in the Wassenaar Arrangement-the first multilateral institution designed to prevent the destabilizing accumulation of arms and dual-use goods and technologies. The WA was founded by 33 countries in July 1996.


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