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S. Korean, Australian defense chiefs vow to boost cooperation

Defense 12:27 December 21, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 21 (Yonhap) -- The defense chiefs of South Korea and Australia held telephone talks Monday and discussed ways to boost exchanges and cooperation in defense and related industry fields, Seoul's defense ministry said.

During the dialogue with Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds, South Korea's Defense Minister Suh Wook expressed gratitude to Australian veterans who fought in the 1950-53 Korean War.

He also voiced hope for the further development of the bilateral ties, as next year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relationship.

Noting that the two countries have maintained cooperation despite the new coronavirus situation, Suh and Reynolds expected to have diverse chances of face-to-face, high-level meetings next year, according to the ministry.

In 2021, South Korea will host a U.N. ministerial conference on peacekeeping operations. The event is slated for April, though it could be postponed until the year-end amid the pandemic, officials said.

Seoul and Canberra also plan to hold the fifth round of foreign and defense ministers' talks next year.

"The Australian minister said that her country is positively reviewing attending the U.N. Peacekeeping Ministerial, and will contribute proactively to the successful meeting," the ministry said in a statement.

Suh also asked for Reynolds' consistent attention to and support for ongoing defense projects involving the two sides.

One such pending issue is Australia's planned purchase of new infantry fighting vehicles, where Redback by South Korea's Hanwha Defense Co. is one of the two candidates.

Defense Minister Suh Wook holds phone talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Oct. 8, 2020, in this photo provided by his office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
This July 1, 2020, EPA photo shows Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds speaking during the launch of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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