Minister of National Defense Suh Wook. (Yonhap)
The defense chiefs of South Korea and China discussed security situations on the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday and vowed to continue exchanges and cooperation, Seoul's defense ministry said.
During the telephone talks, South Korea's Defense Minister Suh Wook explained recent security circumstances to his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, and asked for Beijing to play a "constructive role" for peace and stability on the peninsula.
Wei stressed the need to make joint efforts toward that goal while maintaining close communication between their militaries and pushing for exchanges and cooperation, according to the ministry.
North Korea is believed to have continued to beef up its nuclear and missile capabilities amid stalled denuclearization talks with the United States. During a massive military parade earlier this month, the communist country showed off a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
The Chinese minister congratulated Suh on his inauguration last month, and expressed gratitude for South Korea's repatriation of remains of its troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, according to the ministry.
"The Chinese minister invited Suh to his country," the ministry said. "The two sides agreed to strive together to continue communications and exchanges via diverse channels, including the ministers' visits to each other's countries at a convenient time."
The first talks between the two ministers were arranged at the request of the Chinese side, according to ministry officials.
The meeting also took place amid a growing Sino-US rivalry. Suh visited the US last week for his first meeting with US Defense Secretary Mark Esper. (Yonhap)