April 8 (UPI) — South Korea and Indonesia made no progress in cost-sharing negotiations for the development of fighter jets, known as the KF-X or IF-X project, after a meeting of defense ministers in Seoul.
Seoul’s military said Thursday after discussions between South Korean Foreign Minister Suh Wook and Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto that the two sides agreed to the “joint development” of KF-X/IF-X fighter jets.
The project represents the “strong relationship of trust” between the two nations, the ministry said, according to South Korean newspaper Segye Ilbo on Thursday.
While statements did not address the issue of shared costs, a senior South Korean military official told local network MBC that there was “no specific mention” of burden sharing. Indonesia’s “willingness to continue with the project was clearly affirmed,” however, the source said.
According to the agreement, Indonesia is to pay 20% of costs, or about $1.55 billion. But of the $744.4 million that was due in February, Jakarta has remitted only about $203.4 million, and has left unpaid about $540 million due earlier this year, according to the Segye Ilbo.
The risks are high for Seoul if Indonesia decides to back out of joint development. Under the deal, Indonesia is expected to receive 48 fighter jets, but if both sides cannot agree on costs, Jakarta can turn to France’s Rafale fighter jets to build its fleet.
South Korea could be looking to expand joint development into other areas, including submarines and destroyers, the report said.
Subianto, who is widely believed to be strong contender in Indonesia’s 2024 presidential race, was given a special welcome and a 19-gun salute upon his arrival in Korea, according to reports.
The Indonesian military chief is to attend an event for a jet prototype developed by Korea Aerospace Industries on Friday.
“I believe the Indonesian defense minister’s visit to Korea to attend … demonstrates the two countries’ determination to ensure the success of our mutual cooperation in defense technology,” Moon said, according to the report.