Egypt has announced that it is in negotiations with South Korea to co-produce the K2 Black Panther battle tank.
#BREAKING: On the sidelines of #EDEX2021, Egypt announces negotiations with South Korea to co-produce the K2 Black Panther main battle tank with the transfer of manufacturing technology. pic.twitter.com/5TktlM9EnA
— Mahmoud Gamal (@mahmouedgamal44) November 29, 2021
The two countries met on the sidelines of the EDEX 2021 in Cairo, a defence exposition where senior military personnel meet to browse the latest military equipment available with roughly 300,000 attendants.
Rights groups have consistently criticised arms sales to Egypt over continued concerns about Cairo's human rights record, especially as they have been used by security forces against protesters.
The negotiations come one month after South Korea's Ambassador to Egypt, Hong Jon-wook, said that the Egyptian economy is poised to become one of the region's most attractive economies, as reported in Daily News Egypt.
There has been a concerted effort between the two countries to solidify relations and increase cooperation across various fields.
Trade between Egypt and South Korea reached almost $2 billion in 2020 in engineering and electrical goods, furniture, clothes, chemical products, fertilisers, and medical industries.
South Korea has given medical supplies worth $500,000 to Egypt including PCR tests and medical masks, according to International Finance.
South Korea has invested some $570 million into 181 projects in Egypt, including construction, information technology, tourism and agriculture.
Several thousand Egyptians have tried to seek asylum in South Korea post the 2013 military coup as it was on the list of countries they could enter without a visa.
But in 2018 Egyptians trying to seek asylum there went on hunger strike protesting against being held in limbo over their asylum status.
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South Korea's Ministry of Justice later announced it was abolishing visa-free travel for Egyptians to South Korea because of the number of people who were applying for asylum there.
EDEX 2021 also saw Egypt's president meet with the CEO of the French planemaker Dassault to discuss joint cooperation, despite the fact that a recent investigation into spytech deals and counter-terror ops revealed that Dassault was one of three French companies that sold a surveillance system to the Egyptian government.
Egyptian authorities regularly monitor the communications of dissidents and they have been arrested, forcibly disappeared, detained, and tortured based on location information.