Why did Australia have to send ratchet belts to South Korea?
Australia sent ratchet and grappling belts to a South Korean military base in exchange for equipment.
Key points:The $5 million package includes a new ratchet-style belt and new grappling grappling systemThe belt was bought from the US military and will be installed in South KoreaThe delivery to South Korean authorities comes amid tensions between the two countries over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmesThe deal came after Australia’s ambassador to South Kwondo expressed concern that the South Korean government was using its diplomatic leverage to get the ratchet gear to the United States to supply the military with weapons.
“We are concerned that this is the government’s attempt to get ratchet equipment from the United Nations,” ambassador Mark McQuiggan told Sky News on Monday.
“The Australian Government will not allow the use of Australian dollars in any country for the purpose of obtaining or using ratchet or grappling equipment.”
Australia’s ambassador said the ratcheting system would be fitted to the US-built equipment and sent to South Koreas military headquarters in Pyeongchang, North Korea.
“This is an important milestone in our diplomatic engagement with the South Koreans,” Mr McQuaggan said.
“It is important that Australia is able to provide our military with a safe and secure platform to engage in operations on the Korean peninsula.”
As the Secretary of State, I have made it clear that we are committed to working with our South Korean allies to address North Korea and ensure that the DPRK is deterred from the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
“The ratchet is the US government’s answer to a longstanding demand for more military hardware from the South.
The US has repeatedly expressed concerns that South Korea could use ratcheted-up military equipment to launch ballistic missiles and to conduct nuclear and chemical tests.”
South Korea has repeatedly stated that they would like to continue ratchelling up their nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and we expect them to do so,” a US State Department spokesperson said.
However, South Korea has insisted that its nuclear and conventional forces will not be used in the event of a conflict with the US, and it said the delivery of the ratchieting belt and the grappling system was a “milestone” in the relationship.”
I think that it is a very significant milestone,” ambassador McQuagnan said.
He said it was “important to note that the US and South Korea have been working together on a range of issues, including the resumption of trade, and this is a further sign of our commitment to continue that relationship”.”
The ratchetling system is not the only piece of equipment that will be coming to South Koreans, and that’s what we’re really interested in seeing when it’s completed,” he said.
Mr McQuagggan said the US was working with Australia and other countries to ensure that Australia’s relationship with the Republic of Korea “continues to be robust and reliable”.”
We hope this is only the beginning of the relationship that will support our partnership with Australia, our strategic partnership with South Korea, and other allies around the world,” he added.”
What we are doing is putting our diplomatic muscle behind it.
“Topics:foreign-affairs,military-to-military-relations,south-korea,korea-democratic-peoples-republic-of,china,australiaFirst posted April 18, 2021 11:42:16Contact Julie-Anne KingMore stories from New South Wales