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Boeing Lands Lucrative, Controversial South Korea Contract - 2002-04-22

U.S. aerospace giant Boeing has won a $4.5 billion contract to build fighter jets for the South Korean military, ending a hard-fought battle with Dassault Aviation of France.

The order, which was announced by the South Korean Defense Ministry Friday, has prompted complaints and the threat of legal action from Dassault.

Donald Gross is an international business attorney based in Seoul. He said the award comes after a lengthy and fair selection procedure. "Boeing, with several other aviation companies, participated in a fair and even exhaustive and comprehensive bidding evaluation process which tested not only the technical merits of the aircraft but also the potential inter-operability of the various fighter planes with South Korea's existing military forces," he said.

Under the contract, Boeing is expected to deliver about 40 updated F-15 aircraft to Korea between 2005 and 2009.

Also in South Korea, the world's top memory-chip maker reports a strong rebound. Samsung Electronics has posted a 54-percent increase in first quarter net profits compared to the same period a year ago.

The company credits a recovery in semiconductor prices as well as strong sales for its mobile phone handsets. Analysts expect an even better performance from Samsung through the end of the year.

Beijing is planning to invest more than $200 billion to improve the ramshackle infrastructure of the nation's largest city, Chongqing. That is according to Victor H.S. Lo who heads the Yangtze Council, a Chinese trade group.

The aim of the plan is to encourage commercial development and alleviate the sprawling city's terrible traffic jams. The funds would be invested over the next decade.

Chongqing is located in Southwest Sichuan province and is about 2,500 kilometers up river from Shanghai. As the country's massive Three Gorges Dam project is constructed and the Yangtze River rises, displaced villagers are moving into the Chongqing area looking for work. The money is also intended to help the city cope with their influx.