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S. Korean, Chinese defense chiefs to hold talks in Singapore on N. Korea, regional security

All News 09:39 June 10, 2022

By Song Sang-ho

SINGAPORE, June 10 (Yonhap) -- The defense chiefs of South Korea and China are set to meet bilaterally on the margins of a security forum in Singapore on Friday, Seoul officials said, with North Korea's continued saber-rattling likely to top their agenda.

The talks between Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, come as Seoul seeks to secure regional cooperation to stop Pyongyang's provocations amid concerns about the possibility of the regime carrying out a nuclear test.

The two ministers are in the city state to attend the annual three-day Shangri-La Dialogue that opens Friday. It involves senior officials from more than 40 countries, including the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, Japan and Ukraine.

Aside from North Korean issues, the ministers could also touch on Seoul's move to enable the full-fledged operation of a U.S. THAAD antimissile unit in South Korea, which has been in a status of "temporary installation" pending an environmental impact assessment.

Beijing has opposed the operation of the THAAD unit in the South, arguing it would undermine its security interests. Seoul and Washington have defended it as a defensive step against North Korean missile threats.

The two sides are also expected to discuss cooperation in preventing Chinese warplanes' unannounced entries into South Korea's air defense identification zone and other defense exchanges.

Seoul and Beijing last held their in-person defense ministerial talks in November 2019.

Also on Friday, Lee plans to hold bilateral talks with his counterparts from Canada, New Zealand and Singapore.

Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup arrives at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on June 9, 2022. (Yonhap)

Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup arrives at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on June 9, 2022. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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