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S. Korea, Russia to hold first defense strategic talks on exchanges

South Korea and Russia are scheduled to hold their inaugural defense strategic talks this week in Moscow, discussing regional security and bilateral defense exchanges, officials here said Monday.

The Defense Ministry here said Lim Kwan-bin, the South‘s deputy defense minister for policy, will travel to Russia this Thursday for the talks. Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s deputy defense minister handling international cooperation, will be his counterpart.

“The two sides will talk about security situations on the Korean Peninsula and the rest of the region,” the South Korean ministry said in a statement. “They will also discuss promoting defense exchanges.”

Specifically, Seoul and Moscow will look to bolster their military personnel exchanges, and open up their military academies for each other‘s cadets for commissioned training. No Russian cadet has been trained in South Korea since 1990.

Officials said the sides will also talk about promoting military technology exchanges. In 2007, they reached an agreement in which Russia will pay back South Korea’s loans with military equipment and technology. They haven’t been able to narrow their differences on which equipment and technology Russia should make available, officials added.

According to officials, South Korea is owed $1 billion.

“Russia recognizes the importance of peace on the Korean Peninsula, and we have asked for constructive participation from Russia,” one defense ministry official said. “With the upcoming meeting, we hope to form consensus on international peace and other matters of mutual interest, and also to promote military exchanges.” (Yonhap News)
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