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Vice defense chief calls for int'l cooperation against N. Korea nuclear threats

Nov. 17, 2023 - 10:29 By Yonhap
South Korea's Vice Defense Minister Kim Seon-ho speaks during the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus in Jakarta on Thursday. (Yonhap)

Vice Defense Minister Kim Seon-ho called for strengthening international cooperation against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats at an international security meeting led by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, his ministry said Friday.

Kim made the call at the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus in Jakarta on Thursday, attended by top defense officials from nine ASEAN countries and eight others, including U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, according to the ministry.

"(Kim) called North Korea's nuclear and missile development challenges not only for the Korean Peninsula but for the world and urged aligned efforts from the international community for North Korea's denuclearization," it said.

In an apparent swipe at Russia, Kim called engaging in the weapons trade with North Korea a violation of international law that can never be accepted. South Korean and U.S. officials have accused Russia of receiving arms and military equipment from Pyongyang.

Kim also highlighted the importance of international solidarity to protect a "rules-based" order and a "free, peaceful and prosperous" Indo-Pacific, it said.

On the margins of the gathering, Kim held separate bilateral talks with the Philippines' Secretary of National Defense Gilberto C. Teodoro and Laos' Defense Minister Chansamone Chanyalath.

Kim and Teodoro agreed to work together to develop defense and arms industry ties and shared the view on the importance of peacefully resolving disputes in the South China Sea, the ministry said.

During his talks with Chanyalath, Kim pledged to support Laos in its role as the chair of ASEAN next year. (Yonhap)