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S. Korea, Australia to hold '2+2' talks among foreign, defense ministers

Diplomacy 11:39 September 13, 2021

SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Australia were set to hold "two plus two" talks involving their foreign and defense ministers Monday to discuss bilateral cooperation and regional security, officials said.

Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and Defense Minister Suh Wook are scheduled to meet with their Australian counterparts, Marise Payne and Peter Dutton, respectively, during their 5th ministerial talks slated for later in the day. Their previous talks were held in Sydney in December 2019.

The four will hold a joint press conference following the talks.

At Monday's talks, the ministers were expected to discuss efforts to strengthen the relationship in the context of harmonizing South Korea's key New Southern Policy and Australia's Indo-Pacific strategy.

Announcing the trip to Seoul last week, Australia said the talks will advance its efforts to work with partners for positive and proactive contribution to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The Australian ministers are on a trip that will also take them to Indonesia, India and the U.S.

As for regional issues, they are also expected to share assessments on North Korea's latest launches of a new type of long-range cruise missile, which took place over the weekend.

The North is banned from using ballistic technology under multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions. Cruise missiles, however, are not subject to the sanctions as they are considered less of a threat than ballistic missiles.

Also on the table will likely be ways to boost cooperation in the economy and other fields, including natural resources and hydrogen energy.

This EPA file photo shows Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne (C) and Defense Minister Peter Dutton (R) listening to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a press conference on Afghanistan in Canberra, Australia, on Aug. 27, 2021. (Yonhap)


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