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  • Welcome back. Let's begin this half hour on the nation's defense front Korea's project to procure a next-generation of F-X fighter jets is entering its third phase of purchase. Korea's Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin officially approved a timeline for the purchase on Friday at the Defense Acquisition Procurement Agency meeting in Seoul. And this is going to be the biggest military purchase Korea has made in its modern military history with a minimum of 8 trillion won‚ or about 7 billion US dollars‚ of investments at stake. To tell us more‚ we have our Defense Ministry correspondent Kim Han-ul joining us in the studio. Hello Hanul. [Interview : ] Hello Sean‚ Conn-young. The F-X procurement project was first announced in 1993 and it includes plans to purchase 120 fighter jets in total. The Korean government bought 40 F-15s from Boeing during phase one of the purchase in 2002‚ and bought 20 more during phase two in 2008. And now phase three involves purchasing 60 state-of-the-art fighter planes which makes it the biggest military purchase in modern Korean military history. The government places the budget at 8 trillion won‚ or roughly 7 billion US dollars‚ but this is considered a conservative figure. Experts say the number could easily exceed 10 billion won. And with the timeline now officially approved‚ the aircraft model will be finalized by October next year and the government plans to start supplying it to the Air Force in 2016. But why is it necessary to purchase these planes now[Interview : ] Well‚ the main reason is because the fighter jets have a recommended shelf life and the Korean Air Force's F-4 and F-5 jets are getting old and will soon be retired. And by 2015‚ the airforce will end up with one-hundred jets that need replacing. Also‚ another reason is that the tensions on the Korean peninsula recently intensified following the sinking of the warship Cheonan and artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island last year‚ and that helped to speed up the project since it had been delayed for a year because of budget reasons. With this being such a huge project‚ I'm sure a lot of aero-defense companies are eyeing a bid. So who are some of the bidders[Interview : ] Well Sean‚ there are three bidders participating in the project. They include two American companies Lockheed Martin with its F-35 and Boeing with its F-15‚ also known as the Silent Eagle. And one European fighter jet is also in the mix the Eurofighter Typhoon‚ which is co-produced by four European countries. Although Russia's fifth generation Sukhoi T-50 is also on the list it's most likely going to be a three-way race between the two American and the European bidders. I'm sure there are strengths and weaknesses to each model. But the ultimate question may come down to which of these fighter jets are best made to fit Korea's needs. [Interview : ] Well‚ we can compare the models in a number of ways. In terms of speed‚ Boeing's F-15 is the fastest with a speed of mach 2.5‚ followed by the Eurofighter at mach 2 and Lockheed Martin's F-35 at mach 1.6. The F-15 is also leading the pack in terms of combat radius with over 14-hundred kilometers‚ followed by the Eurofighter and the F-35. In terms of armament load‚ the F-15 can carry the heaviest load at over 13-thousand kilograms‚ followed by the F-35 at around 8-thousand‚ and the Eurofighter at 75-hundred. But Lockheed Martin's F-35's biggest strength is having the best stealth capability out of the three. The Korean Air Force and the defense procurement agency have been placing a strong emphasis on the stealth capability. This technology is also what distinguishes a fourth-generation jet from a fifth-generation jet and what it does is it diminishes the aircraft's reflection on the radarso the aircraft is able to penetrate enemy territory without detection. Meanwhile&

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  • And‚ from the nation's top office President Lee Myung-bak on Tuesday stressed that the fourth-generation mobile communications system‚ which has greatly contributed to the development of Korea's IT industry‚ is providing the country with tremendous hope for the future. At a luncheon for some 50 research developers who succeeded in developing the world's first next-generation mobile communication systems‚ President Lee stated that technology is a means to a nation's survival. He underscored the importance of remaining on top despite outstanding reviews internationally for Korea's mobile communications industry. Reporter : julz1201@arirangtv.com

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  • President Lee Myung-bak stressed on Tuesday that the fourth-generation mobile communications system‚ which has greatly contributed to the development of Korea's IT industry‚ is providing the country with tremendous hope for the future. At a luncheon for some 50 research developers who succeeded in developing the world's first next-generation mobile communication system‚ President Lee stated that technology is a means to a nation's survival. And he underscored the importance of remaining on top despite outstanding reviews internationally over Korea's mobile communications industry. Reporter : julz1201@arirangtv.com

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  • "My father Kim Jong-il opposed the idea of a third generation power succession." This is what the eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il reportedly said in an interview with Japanese newspaper‚ the Tokyo Shimbun‚ on Friday. Kim Jong-nam said although his father did not want to pass on leadership to one of his sons‚ he had no choice‚ since the succession needed to be carried out in order to retain stability in the regime and in Northeast Asia. Kim added that he does not believe a third-generation succession is in line with socialist ideals noting that even China's Mao Zedong did not pursue a father-to-son succession. On the North Korea's shelling of South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island last November Kim said the attack was an act committed by the North's military leadership to justify Pyeongyang's possession of nuclear weapons and to show that military power comes first. He said it is also a message that as long as confrontations with the United States exist the communist regime is highly unlikely to give up its nuclear program. Kim refused to talk about his father's health but said he has a good relationship with Kim Jong-il and the rumors that his younger brother‚ Kim Jong-un‚ attempted to assassinate him are not true. When talking about the poor economic condition of the North Kim said it is sad to hear how North Koreans are suffering from poverty and shared hopes that his younger brother will help the regime's economy recover. Kim Na-ri‚ Arirang News. Reporter : narikim@arirang.co.kr

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  • President Lee has called on his officials to achieve 100 percent self sufficiency in nuclear power plant design and construction by 2012. The President's comment also coming from Tuesday's Cabinet meeting follows just days after a consortium including Korea's state-run power company won a 40-billion-dollar bid to construct nuclear power plants in the United Arab Emirates. The deal is the biggest order in Korea's history in money terms and is seen as an affirmation of the country's progress in nuclear power technology. The President said Korea should make further inroads into the global market for atomic power which entails billions of dollars in revenues adding that the country needs to master key technologies including the production of coolant pumps and reactor control equipment. Reporter : samlen@arirang.co.kr

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