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S. Korea hosts inaugural defense ministerial meeting of UNC member states

Nov. 14, 2023 - 09:13 By Yonhap
Defense Minister Shin Won-sik speaks during a welcome reception for the defense chiefs and representatives of UN Command member states at a hotel in southern Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

South Korea and the United Nations Command member states were set to hold their first meeting of defense chiefs and representatives Tuesday to evaluate the multinational command's contributions and explore their future roles, the defense ministry said.

The UNC was established in July 1950 under a UN mandate to support South Korea against North Korea's aggression and has been overseeing the armistice that halted the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korean defense minister Shin Won-sik and his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin, as well as senior defense officials and representatives from 16 other member states will gather for the inaugural session at the defense ministry.

The participants will evaluate the UNC's role and contributions over the past 70 years, and urge North Korea to cease "unlawful activities" and abide by the UN Security Council resolutions, the ministry said.

They also plan to adopt a joint declaration calling for collective responses in case of contingencies on the peninsula, it noted.

The meeting comes as South Korea is seeking to deepen ties with the UNC under a vision to play a bigger role on the global stage by expanding networks and cooperation with like-minded nations.

On Monday, North Korea renewed its calls for dissolving the UNC, condemning this week's meeting between South Korea and the UNC member states as a "dangerous" scheme to spark a "new war of aggression" against Pyongyang.

Some 1.98 million personnel from 22 countries were dispatched to help South Korea during the war, which ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty. More than 40,000 of them died, with 3,950 others missing, according to veterans ministry data.

The current UNC member states are the United States, Britain, Canada, Turkey, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, the Netherlands, Colombia, Greece, New Zealand, Belgium, France, South Africa, Norway, Denmark and Italy. (Yonhap)