"Death market": World Without War take action at DX Korea arms fair

An activist dressed in a suit holds a protest sign in front of an arms exhibitor
Photo: World Without War

Activists from the South Korean organisation World Without War have taken direct action inside the DX Korea arms fair, targetting companies associated with the war in Yemen, the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict, and human rights abuses in West Papua. The group entered the arms fair dressed as grim reapers and holding signs and images of the impact of the arms trade around the world. DX Korea was the first arms trade event held in Asia since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Korea Defense Industry Exhibition - or DX Korea - is hosted by the Korea Army Association and KOTRA, and sponsored by 15 organizations including the Ministry of Defense and Defense Acquisition Agency, aims to encourage exports for the defence industry. According to World Without War the event allows arms dealers to "actively exchange and sign arms export contracts". South Korea is ranked 8th in the world in terms of arms exports, and Korean weapons are being witnessed in conflict areas and human rights violations around the world:

  • The group has identified traces of Korean-made fragmentary grenades and anti-tank guided missiles in various battles and air raids in Yemen,
  • an anti-tank guided weapon called “Hyeongung”, developed by Korean companies Hanwha and LIG ​​Nex1 has been spotted being used in the Armenia-Azerbaijan war,
  • water cannon and armoured vehicles produced by Daeji Precision Industries have been used by the Indonesian security forces to oppress the nonviolent movement in West Papua
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