SEOUL -- Poongsan Corp., a producer of fabricated non-ferrous metal products and military ammunition in South Korea, has been a hermitic company with little publicity. However, its defense business gained unexpected attention due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The company has produced almost all kinds of ammunition used in the military.
Poongsan has secured its exclusive position in South Korea's military ammunition market since it jumped into the production of bullets and artillery shells in 1973. The company's business data on military ammunition has been kept under wraps. It now produces almost all types of ammunition used by South Korean troops, including 155mm diameter projectiles that offer a wide range of options for battlefield usage.
The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed officials, reported that the U.S. plans to buy 100,000 rounds of 155mm artillery from South Korea for delivery to Ukraine. Washington had sent M777 guns and M795 155 mm ammunition to Ukraine. The M795 is the standard shell for American 155 mm howitzers.
In a press statement on November 11, the South's defense ministry said that consultations on ammunition exports are underway between Washington and a South Korean company "on the premise that the U.S. will be the end user" to make up for the shortage of 155mm ammunition. The ministry did not mention any names, reaffirming its position not to send lethal weapons to Ukraine. "The government's policy of not supporting lethal weapons to Ukraine remains unchanged."
South Korea has provided Ukraine with nonlethal items such as gas masks, bulletproof helmets, tents, blankets, combat food, medicine, and bulletproof vests.
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