An annual international security forum hosted by South Korea's defense ministry kicked off in Seoul on Wednesday for discussions on situations on the Korean Peninsula and the surrounding region, as well as peacekeeping operations and cybersecurity.
The eighth vice-ministerial Seoul Defense Dialogue, set to run for three days until Friday, brought together hundreds of officials and experts from around 50 countries and two international organizations, including the United Nations, according to the defense ministry.
Vice Defense Minister Park Jae-min (right) speaks during Seoul Defense Dialogue on Sept. 4, 2019.(Yonhap)
On the first day, two sessions of the Cyber Working Group took place. A multilateral dialogue institution, the CWG was launched in 2013 to discuss growing security challenges in cyberspace.
This year's focus is changing international norms on cybersecurity and policy measures to enhance capacity and workforce management, the ministry said.
On the sidelines of the forum, Vice Defense Minister Park Jae-min held a multilateral meeting with his counterparts from five Central Asian countries to discuss ways to enhance cooperation, according to the ministry.
He hosted another meeting with officials from 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to share an assessment of 30 years of cooperation between the two sides and discuss ways to further improve ties, it added.
In addition, South Korea held bilateral meetings with Singapore, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, the Philippines, Canada and Kazakhstan and asked for their continued support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and lasting peace in the region.
The forum's opening ceremony is to be held Thursday.
At the ceremony, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon will make opening remarks, which is to be followed by a key note speech by Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, according to the ministry.
Several discussion sessions will be held Thursday and Friday, during which participants will discuss the peace process and arms control on the Korean Peninsula, as well as security issues in Northeast Asia, ASEAN countries and the Middle East.
Seoul plans to hold more separate bilateral meetings with participating countries, including Saudi Arabia, Mongolia and the United Arab Emirates, the ministry added.
The SDD was launched in 2012 with the participation of vice ministerial defense officials and civilian security experts. It is designed to help enhance confidence building among countries and ease military tensions on the peninsula.
"I hope the SDD 2019 would serve as a stage to share visions and substantial resolutions to resolve international security issues," Vice Minister Park said, vowing efforts to provide participating entities a chance to build confidence and promote security cooperation. (Yonhap)