S. Korea, France defense chiefs to discuss joint sanctions efforts against N.K.

By 신현희
  • Published : Jun 15, 2016 - 19:51
  • Updated : Jun 15, 2016 - 19:51

SEOUL/PARIS (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Defense Minister Han Min-koo and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian plan to delve into how they could jointly act to tighten the screws on a defiant North Korea as well as ways to boost bilateral collaboration when they meet for talks on Wednesday, the defense ministry said.

The defense ministers are scheduled to hold a meeting from 4:30 p.m. in Paris at the headquarters of the French defense ministry, the first full-length defense ministers' talks between the nations in nine years.

The ministers briefly met in Singapore earlier this month, but only on the sidelines of the regional security forum Shangri-La Dialogue.

At the top of the agenda would be a quest for how South Korea and France could work together to better rein in North Korea's provocative military activities on the nuclear and missile fronts.

Ministry officials said the defense chiefs may forge an agreement to jointly push for additional sanctions on North Korea.

The communist country is facing widening international punitive sanctions following its defiant nuclear and long-range missile tests in January and February, respectively.

In March, the United Nations' Security Council adopted a new resolution against North Korea, imposing economic and financial penalties that were more stringent than ever before.

Later, Europe introduced a separate set of sanctions on North Korea, spearheaded by France and hailed by South Korea.

The ministers plan to use the latest venue to review how thoroughly the two countries are following through with the U.N.

measures as well as to explore ways to expand their sanctions, according to the South Korean officials.

The forthcoming talks would also dwell on the idea of expanding and sophisticating bilateral exercises on the Proliferation Security Initiative, a global effort to curb the spread of weapons of mass destruction, the officials said.

On the issue of peace-keeping operations, the defense chiefs will discuss the possibility of signing a mutual logistics support agreement which allows the countries to lend and borrow defense goods and services while on a global PKO mission.

So far, South Korea has signed the agreement with 16 foreign countries, including Japan.

Ways to tighten bilateral cooperation on the defense supplies and manufacturing sectors would also be on the table, with the aim to broaden and diversify the scope of collaboration, the officials added.

"France is a traditional friend of South Korea with the two sides celebrating 130 years of diplomatic relations this year," a defense ministry official said.

"In the latest talks, South Korea expects to develop its strategic defense partnership with France," he said.