Defense chiefs of S. Korea, Norway discuss arms exports, bilateral ties
By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Yonhap) -- The defense chiefs of South Korea and Norway have held talks to discuss regional security and arms industry cooperation, including Seoul's bid to join Oslo's tank procurement project, the defense ministry here said Wednesday.
Defense Minister Suh Wook met his Norwegian counterpart, Odd Roger Enoksen, in Oslo on Tuesday (Norway time). It marks the first visit by a South Korean defense chief to the country.
Suh used the talks to promote the K-2 tank, stressing the South Korean Army's bedrock combat vehicle will "contribute to bolstering Norway's military strength," the ministry said.
Commenting on his earlier trial ride in the tank, Enoksen said the K-2 tank's bid for Norway's defense project itself is "meaningful."
Norway has increasingly been a crucial arms importer for South Korea. In 2017, the country signed a contract to purchase 24 of South Korea's K-9 self-propelled howitzers.
Apart from industrial cooperation, the ministers exchanged views on regional security, including peace efforts on the Korean Peninsula and the standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine, according to the ministry.
In particular, Suh called for Norway's support for the peace endeavors. Enoksen reaffirmed Norway's "invariable" support for the efforts, the ministry said.
Earlier Tuesday, Suh also met with Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt.
Suh asked for Norway's support for Seoul's peace efforts, along with its bid to join the U.N. Security Council as a nonpermanent member for the 2024-25 period.
Huitfeldt pledged to continue to support Seoul's North Korea policy.
Suh plans to visit the testing site of candidate battle tanks, including the K-2, in eastern Norway on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the minister plans to visit Lebanon to meet with troops of the Dongmyeong unit, the 300-strong South Korean peacekeeping contingent there.
He is set to return home Friday.
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