South Korea may buy drones from Poland to expand defence ties, report says

SEOUL (Reuters) -Seoul is reviewing a request from Poland to buy its drones, particularly aerial attack vehicles used effectively in Ukraine, as it could help seal more contracts with a major arms buyer, a news report said on Monday.

Poland made a sales pitch for a range of its drones to a South Korean delegation led by Defense Minister Shin Won-sik that visited last month, South Korea's Dong-a Ilbo newspaper reported, citing unnamed government sources.

The Polish government highlighted the drones' effectiveness as proven in combat and their relatively low prices, Dong-a Ilbo reported.

Poland has signed major arms contracts with South Korea, including a $22 billion deal in 2022 for mechanised howitzers, tanks and fighter jets, the largest weapons sales ever for South Korea.

"It isn't easy for a one-way relationship where only Poland is buying South Korea's weapons to be sustained," a South Korean government official said in the newspaper report.

"If we buy Polish drones, that could promote the export of our weapons to Poland," the official said.

South Korea's Defense Ministry said it was reviewing ways to strengthen its drone capabilities including possible acquisition from overseas and the review includes Polish drones as they have been in operation in real combat.

South Korea has been making a major push to become the world's fourth-largest defence exporter by 2027.

Poland is likely to sign another contract with South Korea in September for the delivery of more arms, in particular K2 tanks, Polish Defence Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz was quoted as saying in June by state news agency PAP.

(Reporting by Jack Kim and Ju-min Park; Editing by Jamie Freed and Arun Koyyur)