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International relations

South Korea, Australia sign $930m deal to build howitzer plant

Moon, Morrison agree to cooperate on defense, supply chains at summit

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison are flanked by representatives of Hanwha Group and members of the Australian Defence Force during a signing ceremony in Canberra on Monday.   © AP

SEOUL -- South Korea and Australia on Monday signed a $930 million deal to build a howitzer factory in Geelong, Victoria, that will supply 30 self-propelled howitzers to Canberra, paving the way for defense cooperation between the two countries in the Indo-Pacific region as China continues to expand its military presence.

Hanwha Defense's Australian unit agreed with the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group to build a production base in Geelong by 2040 to supply K-9 Thunder howitzers and 15 ammunition carriers. To date, Hanwha has supplied about 600 K-9 howitzers to six countries.

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