US twisted Seoul’s arm in drone deal

Global Hawk

Sunny Lee of Asia Times reports what we all suspected…

BEIJING – An investigation of leaked United States diplomatic cables surrounding the planned sale of US surveillance drones to South Korea reveals that Washington has exerted considerable diplomatic pressure to smooth the deal, even as media were reporting the Pentagon was reluctant over the sale.

South Korean media reported this week that Seoul was mulling the cancelation of a deal to purchase by 2015 four RQ-4 Global Hawks – a high-altitude endurance remotely piloted unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) – after Washington more than doubled the initial asking price from 450 billion (US$385 million) won to 940 billion won.

Using Global Hawks over the Korean Peninsula would provide an unprecedented view of goings-on in reclusive North Korea.

Full report with Wikileaks cables