South Korea's vice defense minister on Wednesday held a series of bilateral talks with his counterparts from foreign countries and asked for their continued support for efforts to denuclearize North Korea and build peace on the peninsula, his office said.
On the sidelines of the 8th Seoul Defense Dialogue under way in Seoul, Vice Defense Minister Park Jae-min met with his counterparts from Singapore, Uzbekistan, the Philippines and Ethiopia, to share their assessment on the recent security situations in the region and discuss ways to deepen their defense ties, according to the ministry.
During the meeting with Singaporean vice defense chief Chan Yeng Kit, Park asked for Singapore's proactive support and cooperation to encourage North Korea to give up its nuclear program and continue to engage in the ongoing peace process.
Vice Defense Minister Park Jae-min (Yonhap)
Hailing Seoul's endeavor to build peace and trust, the Singaporean minister stressed the security cooperation among players in the region for stability, according to the ministry.
The two sides also agreed to boost bilateral exchanges and cooperation in the military and defense industries, it added.
Park also met Uzbek Deputy Defense Minister Azizbek Ikramov and agreed to further strengthen their "strategic communication" by expanding exchanges in education fields and among high-level officials.
Expressing gratitude for Tashkent's support for Seoul's denuclearization initiative, Park asked for its continued interest and backing, to which Ikramov pledged to do so, according to the ministry.
During the talks between Park and his Philippine counterpart, Ricardo David, the two sides agreed to bring their defense ties a notch higher, marking 70 years of their establishment of diplomatic relations.
David expressed his country's strong support for Seoul's denuclearization efforts, the ministry said.
In the meeting with Ethiopian Vice Defense Minister Lela-alem Gebreyohannes Tedla, Park thanked the African nation for its sacrifice for and dedication to peace on the Korean Peninsula, citing its dispatch of troops during the 1950-53 Korean War.
Speaking highly of Seoul's defense diplomacy through its diverse projects for veterans, the Ethiopian official asked for Seoul's cooperation in its push for military reform, according to the ministry.
Later in the day, the South Korean vice defense minister is scheduled to have bilateral talks with his Canadian and Kazakhstani counterparts. In a multilateral format, Park was also set for vice ministerial talks with representatives from five Central Asian countries, as well as with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, according to the ministry.
Under the theme of "Building Peace Together: Challenges and Visions," this year's SDD set to run from Wednesday through Friday brings together hundreds of government officials and security experts from around 50 countries, as well as international organizations, and serves as a venue for their defense diplomacy to boost security cooperation. (Yonhap)