SEOUL, South Korea's defense ministry began its annual international security forum in Seoul on Wednesday to discuss ongoing efforts to denuclearize the peninsula, maritime security, defense in cyberspace and other issues.

The 7th vice-ministerial Seoul Defense Dialogue (SDD) brought together 250 people from 49 countries and four international organizations, including the U.N. and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. It runs for three days until Friday under the theme of "Sustainable Peace: From Conflict to Cooperation."

On the first day, two sessions of the Cyber Working Group (CWG) took place. The CWG is a multilateral dialogue institution launched in 2013 for defense officials to share their views and experiences in coping with security challenges in cyberspace.

At the sessions, officials and experts discussed the role of the military in cybersecurity, related policies and technologies.

On the sidelines of the SDD, South Korea held a series of bilateral vice-ministerial meetings with Canada, Italy, Turkey and other countries. Their talks focused largely on joint efforts to promote peace on the peninsula and deepen cooperation in the arms industry.

Seoul also held vice ministerial talks with participants from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to seek cooperation with them over its New Southern Policy aimed at deepening ties with ASEAN.

In addition, Seoul held a separate meeting with Central Asian countries, including Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, to discuss its Asia policy and expand defense cooperation with them.

The forum's opening ceremony is set to be held Thursday.

At the ceremony, Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's chief presidential security adviser, will deliver a keynote speech on Seoul's ongoing efforts to foster a lasting peace on the peninsula. His speech will follow congratulatory remarks by Defense Minister Song Young-moo.

The SDD was launched in 2012 with the participation of vice ministerial defense officials and civilian security experts. It is designed to help enhance confidence building among countries and ease military tensions on the peninsula.

Source: Yonhap News Agency