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Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro visits Hanwha Ocean shipyard in Geoje, Republic of Korea, Feb. 27, 2024. U.S. Navy Photo

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro visits Hanwha Ocean shipyard in Geoje, Republic of Korea, Feb. 27, 2024. U.S. Navy Photo

Navy Secretary Del Toro Pursuing Korean Investment to Help Revitalize American Shipbuilding

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 4770
February 28, 2024

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro met with top shipbuilding executives in Korea this week, visiting two of the world’s largest and most technologically advanced shipyards. The goal of the visit was to attract Korean investment in commercial and naval shipbuilding facilities in the United States.

Secretary Del Toro first visited Seoul, where he met with Hanwha Vice Chairman and CEO Dong Kwan Kim and HD Hyundai Vice Chairman and CEO Kisun Chung. He was given a tour of Hyundai’s shipyard in Ulsan by Mr. Chung, and later visited Geoje Island, where Hanwha Ocean CEO Hyek-woong Kwon led a tour of his company’s shipyard.

“In each of these engagements, I brought to the table a simple, yet profound opportunity: invest in America,” said Secretary Del Toro. ” I was enormously gratified by the strong interest expressed by the leaders of each of these world-class shipbuilders in establishing U.S. subsidiaries and investing in shipyards in the United States.”

The visit is part of Del Toro’s new Maritime Statecraft initiative, which aims to reinvigorate the U.S. as comprehensive maritime power to counter China’s aggressive pursuit of worldwide shipbuilding dominance. In announcing the strategy in September, he suggested the U.S. maritime industry is ripe for partnerships with more shipbuilders, both domestically and from close allies like Japan and South Korea. The trip also aligns with the Pentagon’s National Defense Industrial Strategy, which encourages innovative ideas and venture capital to rejuvenate the U.S. industrial base.

During his tour, Del Toro acknowledged the global industry standard-setting status of Hanwha and Hyundai and highlighted the potential for dormant shipyard sites in the U.S. to be redeveloped as dual-use construction facilities, contributing to the shift from fossil fuels to green energy sources. He also emphasized the economic benefits of revitalizing U.S. shipbuilding, noting it would create well-paying American jobs and build advanced ships crucial for the future economy.

“In addition to our currently active shipyards, there are numerous former shipyard sites around the country which are largely intact and dormant,” said Del Tor. “These are ripe for redevelopment as dual-use construction facilities for both warships, like AEGIS destroyers, as well as high value chain commercial vessels, such as the ammonia gas carriers that will enable the global transition from fossil fuels to green energy sources like hydrogen.”

“I look forward to hosting Mr. Chung and Mr. Kim at my office in the Pentagon to continue our discussions in the coming weeks,” he added.

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