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Defense chief to meet with US, Japanese counterparts in Singapore

May 30, 2024 - 15:04 By Kim Arin
South Korea’s Minister of National Defense Shin Won-sik (center) is seen in Terminal 2 of Incheon International Airport on Thursday, on his way to attend the Asia Security Summit in Singapore. (Yonhap)

Shin Won-sik, South Korea’s Minister of National Defense, will attend this year’s Asia Security Summit in Singapore — also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue — where he is scheduled to meet with his counterparts from the US, Japan and other key partner countries.

The annual summit hosted by the UK think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies gathers leaders and experts in defense and diplomacy. Held since 2002, this year’s summit marks the 21st anniversary.

According to the Defense Ministry in Seoul on Thursday, Shin is due to meet with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during the summit for a bilateral discussion and also possibly with Japan’s Minister of Defense Minoru Kihara.

A three-way meeting of defense chiefs of South Korea, the US and Japan is also set to take place.

Some of the core items of discussions in the trilateral meeting include North Korea’s latest acts of provocation, such as spy satellite and missile launches, and steps for strengthening cooperation in response to these threats, the Defense Ministry said.

The defense chiefs of the three countries will also review the joint system for sharing warning data on North Korean missiles in real-time launched last December.

Shin and Austin will likely talk about fortifying US extended deterrence against growing nuclear threats from North Korea and ways for possibly letting South Korea join the AUKUS — a trilateral partnership between Australia, the UK and the US for security in the Indo-Pacific and China containment.

Indonesian Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto will attend the summit, raising the possibility of his meeting with Shin to talk about the issue of cost-sharing in the joint project for developing the KF-21 fighter jets.

Shin will also hold bilateral meetings with the defense chiefs of Canada, France, and the Philippines to discuss defense and defense cooperation.

There is a chance Shin may meet with his Chinese counterpart as President Yoon Suk Yeol and China Premier Li Qiang agreed to increase cooperation at the summit in Seoul on Sunday.