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Defense chief to attend virtual Asia-Pacific defense ministers' meeting this week

Defense Minister Suh Wook (Ministry of National Defense)
Defense Minister Suh Wook (Ministry of National Defense)
Defense Minister Suh Wook will join his counterparts from the United States, China, Japan and other countries in an annual Asia-Pacific defense ministers' meeting this week, officials said Sunday.

The 7th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) will be held via video link on Thursday, which will bring together top defense officials from 18 countries, also including the 10 ASEAN member states, Russia, India, Australia and New Zealand.

This year's event was supposed to take place in Vietnam, but the organizer and participants decided to hold the multilateral meeting online due to the global COVID-19 situation, according to the officials.

"Major international and regional security issues are expected to be on the table. This year's event will also serve as a venue to discuss both traditional and non-traditional security challenges such as the new coronavirus," a ministry official said.

Last month, the countries held working-level ADMM talks, and South Korea sought support for efforts for a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and shared the military's role in fighting the new coronavirus, according to the defense ministry.

Last year, South Korea's defense minister held one-on-one meetings with his counterparts from major countries, such as the US, China, and Japan, on the sidelines of the ADMM-Plus meeting in Bangkok.

Since taking office in September, Suh has held dialogues with US and Chinese defense ministers but not with his Japanese counterpart amid frayed diplomatic ties between the neighbors.

Launched in 2010, the ADMM-Plus has been a venue for consultations on major regional security issues, counterterrorism and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. It had been held every two or three years but became an annual event from 2018. (Yonhap)
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