By Song Sang-ho
SEOUL, Aug. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup is set to depart for Australia on Tuesday for talks with his Australian counterpart on arms industry cooperation and regional security, his ministry said.
Lee plans to meet Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles in Canberra on Thursday to discuss two-way defense cooperation as part of follow-up measures to the summit between President Yoon Suk-yeol and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese held on the margins of a NATO summit in Madrid in June.
While in Australia, Lee and Marles also plan to visit Geelong, a southeastern city home to a K9 self-propelled howitzer factory of the South Korean firm Hanwha Defense. The visit has been arranged upon Marles' proposal.
"During the visit, they plan to reaffirm the two countries' will for bilateral arms industry cooperation," the ministry said in a press release.
Lee will also pay homage at a Korean War monument and visit the Australian Strategic Policy Institute for talks with its officials on regional security.
The planned talks between Lee and Marles would mark their second in-person talks in their current capacities following the first one on the sidelines of the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in June.
It would also be Australia's first bilateral defense ministerial talks with a partner nation in Canberra since the new Australian administration was launched in May, according to the ministry.
Meanwhile, the South Korean armored vehicle Redback has been competing to win the Australian Army's high-profile procurement project, called Land 400 Phase 3.
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