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S. Korea, Australia to hold meeting of foreign, defense ministers

2017/10/13 09:23

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SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- The foreign and defense ministers of South Korea and Australia will hold a joint meeting Friday to discuss cooperation on North Korea and other security issues.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Defense Minister Song Young-moo will meet with their Australian counterparts, Julie Bishop and Marise Payne, in Seoul in the third biennial "two-plus-two" talks launched in 2013. The previous meeting was held in Sydney in 2015.

The meeting comes amid heightened tensions sparked by North Korea's continued provocations, including a series of ballistic missile launches and last month's sixth nuclear test.

The Australian officials visited the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on Thursday and emphasized the need for "maximum diplomatic pressure" to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Kang and Bishop will hold a separate bilateral meeting later in the day.

South Korea currently has a ministerial-level two-plus-two format of consultation with the United States and Australia, and agreed in March with India to launch such talks on the vice ministerial level within this year.

kokobj@yna.co.kr

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