The defense chiefs of South Korea and Australia discussed bilateral cooperation in securing peace on the peninsula and tackling other regional and global security challenges during their talks in Seoul on Wednesday.
Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith exchanged their views on North Korea’s nuclear threat and ways to bolster defense collaboration in various areas, including intelligence, Seoul officials said.
The regular defense ministers’ meeting between the two countries was the second of its kind after the first in Canberra in December 2011.
Kim expressed his gratitude to Smith for Australia’s continued support for Seoul’s policy toward Pyongyang. Smith reiterated his country’s backing for Seoul’s endeavors to maintain peace and stability on the peninsula.
Since the summit between the two countries in 2009, Seoul and Canberra have sought to expand practical defense cooperation. Recognizing their role as middle-power states, the two have also tried to expand their strategic partnership to help tackle various issues facing the world.
The staunch allies of the U.S. aim to craft an exemplary model of middle-power cooperation. Middle-power states, such as the two, have played increasingly significant roles in building coalitions of like-minded nations to address issues that require collective action.
On Thursday, the two countries are to hold the so-called two-plus-two meeting of foreign and defense ministers for the first time in Seoul. South Korea has held the same talks only with the U.S.
Australia has two-plus-two talks with the U.S., Britain, New Zealand, Indonesia and Japan.
By Song Sang-ho (firstname.lastname@example.org)