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(LEAD) OPCW chief to discuss N.K threat with S. Korea defense minister

All Headlines 19:11 September 06, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS details about Seoul Defense Dialogue in paras 6-10)

SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- The chief of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Ahmet Uzumcu will discuss North Korea's evolving unconventional threat with South Korea's defense chief this week, Seoul's military said Tuesday.

The OPCW director general plans to exchange views with Defense Minister Han Min-koo in Seoul on Thursday over cooperative measures that can be taken to ease escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula and to curb North Korea's possible use of chemical weapons, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement.

Uzumcu will be in the capital city to attend the Seoul Defense Dialogue (SDD) from Sept. 7-9, an annual defense forum hosted by the defense ministry.

He also plans to meet South Korean officials at the unification and foreign affairs ministries to discuss ways to strengthen ties between South Korea and the UN-backed OPCW.

In a press conference scheduled on Thursday, he will answer questions from local reporters on his participation in the 5th defense forum, North Korea's weapons of mass destruction and the duties of OPCW, the ministry said.

This photo taken on Sept. 10, 2015, shows participants listening to an opening speech by South Korea's Vice Defense Minister Baek Seung-joo during the Seoul Defense Dialogue held in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, military leaders from 33 countries will gather at the annual defense forum to be held in Seoul from Sept. 7-9. They are expected to discuss measures to tackle North Korea's growing nuclear ambitions, the ministry said.

However, China's officials won't participate in the forum this year, it said. China appears to have decided not to send its officials to the gathering in protest against Seoul's recent decision to deploy an advanced U.S. anti-missile defense system on its soil by 2017. China has argued the system's powerful radar could be used to spy on its military moves.

"With tension on the Korean Peninsula escalating due to North Korea's continued missile tests this year, it is meaningful for military officials from the six-party talk members to meet and discuss ways to counter the North's growing nuclear and missile threats," a ministry spokesman said.

The six-party talks, stalled since December 2008, aim to denuclearize North Korea. The six participating states are the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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