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Seoul, Beijing Hold Strategic Defense Talks for First Time in 5 Years

Write: 2019-10-21 13:42:29Update: 2019-10-21 18:15:21

Photo : YONHAP News

South Korea and China held strategic defense talks for the first time in five years on Monday after the annual dialogue was suspended due to tensions over Seoul's decision to host an advanced U.S. missile defense system.

Vice Defense Minister Park Jae-min met with Shao Yuanming, the deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China's Central Military Commission, in Beijing.

Seoul's Defense Ministry said before the meeting that the two sides would have in-depth discussions on Korean Peninsula security conditions and issues of mutual concern.

They are expected to have discussed the recent series of missile launches by North Korea and ways to restore defense exchanges between the two sides. 

The high-level defense dialogue was held annually from 2011 to 2014 but then halted amid conflicts over the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea.

While in Beijing, Park is also attending the Xiangshan Forum, a regional security forum hosted by China. North Korean Vice Defense Minister Kim Hyong-ryong is also attending.

According to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met separately with both officials on Sunday. 

Wei asked Park to strengthen high-level exchanges and to advance defense ties on the basis of dealing with sensitive issues in an appropriate manner. 

Park reportedly said that Seoul hopes to bolster communications with Beijing and to jointly pursue the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. 

In his meeting with Kim, Wei called for a reinforcement in strategic communications, pursuing working-level exchanges and mutual support in order to further develop their defense ties.

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