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S. Korea, Russia to set up military hotlines: defense ministry

Kim Sang-jin (R), the defense ministry's director general for international policy, and Viktor Kalganov, deputy director of Russia's National Defense Control Center, pose for a photo in Seoul after signing a memorandum of understanding to establish military hotlines between the two countries on Thursday, in this photo released by the ministry. (Defense Ministry)
Kim Sang-jin (R), the defense ministry's director general for international policy, and Viktor Kalganov, deputy director of Russia's National Defense Control Center, pose for a photo in Seoul after signing a memorandum of understanding to establish military hotlines between the two countries on Thursday, in this photo released by the ministry. (Defense Ministry)
South Korea and Russia agreed Thursday to establish direct bilateral military hotlines to strengthen their communication to prevent accidental clashes at sea and in the air, Seoul's defense ministry said.

Kim Sang-jin, the ministry's director general for international policy, and Viktor Kalganov, deputy director of Russia's National Defense Control Center, signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) to set up a hotline between the two countries' Navies and another between their Air Forces.

The two countries have sought to deepen bilateral communication, as Russian military aircraft had entered South Korea's air defense identification zone multiple times in the past without prior notice, raising concerns about needless military tensions between the two countries.

"Through this MOU, we expect that the two countries can forestall accidental clashes in the air and at sea by strengthening trust and communication between the military authorities of South Korea and Russia," the ministry said in a press release.

"It is also expected to contribute to a reduction of tensions and the establishment of peace in the region," it added.

One of the two hotlines is to be established for communication between South Korea's ROK Fleet Command and Russia's Pacific Fleet, while the other connects the Korean Air Force's First Master Control and Reporting Center and Russia's 11th Air and Air Defense Forces Army.

ROK stands for South Korea's official name, Republic of Korea. (Yonhap)

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