Israel has sold South Korea 67 Spike rockets to defend the country against North Korea, which shelled its neighbor last year, killing four people and exposing inadequate defenses.
The sale advances Israel’s position as one of the world’s leading defense exporters, and Jerusalem is looking for more purchasers to replace losses suffered by worsening relations with Turkey. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Tuesday it is suspending military trade with Israel.
Officials said the $43 million contract was signed in July with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and will be deployed on two South Korean islands in the Yellow Sea.
Rafael said the 15-mile rockets can hit hidden targets. The rockets will bolster South Koreas defenses, which rely largely on marines, self-propelled guns and other weapons on the islands.
North Korea has never accepted a maritime border drawn by the United Nations command, headed by the United States, at the end of the Korean War in the early 1950s.
The war featured the former Soviet Union backing North Korea against American-backed South Korea.
North Korea’s nuclear program has upset the United States, which has unsuccessfully tried to resume disarmament talks.