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Pacific Army chiefs to discuss N. Korea in Seoul next week

2017/09/11 16:26

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SEOUL, Sept. 11 (Yonhap) -- Top Army officers from Indo-Asia-Pacific countries will gather in Seoul next week for a biennial meeting on North Korea and other security threats, South Korea's Army said Monday.

The four-day Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (PACC) will open Monday under the theme "Unity of Effort: Building Civil-Military Partnerships in Land Force Response to Non-Traditional Security Threats."

   It will bring together army chiefs of staff and senior commanders from 29 nations, the Army said. It will be co-hosted by South Korea's Army Chief of Staff Gen. Kim Yong-woo and his American counterpart Mark A. Milley.

China is sending a three-star general to the session as the head of its delegation, a defense source said.

It will be the first visit by a high-level Chinese military official since South Korea and the U.S. agreed to deploy the advanced THAAD missile defense system on the peninsula more than a year ago.

Kim plans to hold bilateral talks with the chief Chinese delegate, added the source.

Only the first-day session, in which former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will deliver a keynote speech, will be open to the public. Among the participants in the discussions are Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of the U.S. Forces Korea; Choi Young-jin, South Korea's former ambassador to the U.S.; and Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The upcoming PACC will also offer opportunities for "military diplomacy," including bilateral and other multilateral meetings among the attendees.

The South Korean army chief of staff plans to brief his counterparts on the seriousness of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and on Seoul's determination for a strong response, his office said.

The PACC was launched in 1999 with the aim of promoting ties among top army officers in the region on major security issues.

South Korea will also host the Pacific Armies Management Seminar (PAMS) at the same venue during the period. PAMS is an annual seminar for three to four-star generals or equivalent that started in 1978.

lcd@yna.co.kr

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