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(LEAD) S. Korea, Botswana sign agreement to promote military cooperation

All News 13:50 January 18, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has signed an agreement with Botswana to promote bilateral military cooperation as it strives to expand military ties amid growing North Korean threats, the defense ministry said Wednesday.

Defense Minister Han Min-koo and his Botswana counterpart Shaw Kgathi discussed ways to promote meetings of high-ranking military officials and defense industry deals, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement.

"Han explained the current security situation on the Korean Peninsula, citing North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs, to the Botswana minister. And he asked Botswana to join international efforts to pressure Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program," the statement said.

Defense Minister Han Min-koo (R) shakes hands with his Botswana counterpart Shaw Kgathi after signing an agreement for military cooperation in Seoul on Jan. 18, 2017. (Yonhap)

Botswana severed its diplomatic ties with North Korea in February 2014 after a UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) reported on human rights abuses in the reclusive country, which included forced labor, sexual abuse and public executions.

The African country also lashed out at North Korea as it conducted its fourth and fifth nuclear tests in January and September, respectively, last year.

However, there was no elaboration on how the two sides will promote defense ties to help tackle military threats from the communist nation.

During his one-week trip to South Korea that ends Sunday, Minister Kgathi is also scheduled to meet Chang Myoung-jin, minister of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, to discuss possible cooperation in the defense industry.

Currently, South Korea has military ties with 42 countries, including three African nations -- Gabon, Ethiopia and Uganda.


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