South Korean loan for Poland arms deal does not exist, says PM

WARSAW (Reuters) – A South Korean loan to Poland to finance arms deals does not actually exist, Poland’s prime minister said on Wednesday, although the new government hopes to still continue with the purchases.

“There was a problem with the Korean purchases… a significant part of the Korean purchases was to be financed by a loan that Korea was to grant,” Donald Tusk told a news conference.

“In the end it turned out that there was some misunderstanding… it turned out that there was no Korean loan.”

Warsaw had signed arms deals from South Korea as part of a drive to build up its military in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However, the Financial Times reported in November that Seoul was worried that a change of government combined with a lack of funds could jeopardise some deals.

Tusk said that Warsaw would review its defence contracts but intended to continue with them.

“I really hope there won’t be anything there that would make us revise some of them,” he said.

The South Korean embassy in Warsaw declined to comment.

Poland’s parliament speaker said earlier in December that the new government may invalidate contracts signed by the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party after it lost its majority in an Oct. 15 election.

However, Tusk has said previously Poland will honour arms contracts that have been signed.

A South Korean foreign ministry official told Yonhap news agency on Tuesday that Seoul was consulting with Warsaw to make sure contracts were implemented.

“We have not heard of anything related to the defense contracts with Poland that has made any impact or influence,” the official said.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Pawel Florkiewicz in Warsaw, Josh Smith in Seoul; Editing by Josie Kao)