Australia boost defense ties with South Korea

Australia boost defense ties with South Korea

AUSTRALIAN Defense Minister Richard Marles traveled to South Korea for a week-long meeting with Pacific leaders.

Marles met his South Korean counterpart Lee Jong-sup on the sidelines of the South Korea-Pacific Islands Summit in Seoul.

The summit was a landmark moment for South Korea since this is the first time the East Asian country hosted a summit of Pacific leaders which kicked off on May 25.

The President of South Korea invited the leaders of the 18 member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) along with their spouses.

During the meeting, the defense minister of South Korea expressed willingness to join the Indo-Pacific Endeavour, a multinational military drill led by Australia.

Defense Minister Lee also showed interest in the South Korean military being part of Operation Render Safe – activities by the Australian Defense Force to remove underwater mines in the Pacific.

Both defense chiefs also agreed to hold working-level meetings as part of steps to revise a memorandum signed in 2011 aimed at improving defense cooperation between the two countries.

Defense ministers from Australia, Japan, the U.S., and the Philippines are planning to hold their first-ever quadrilateral talks in Singapore next month.

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