SEOUL, South Korea and Saudi Arabia have agreed to strengthen their military ties and boost cooperation in the defense industry, the defense ministry here said Thursday.

During the inaugural meeting of a joint defense cooperation committee held on Wednesday in Riyadh, South Korea's Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk and Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Ayash, Saudi Arabia's assistant minister for defense, discussed ways to promote exchanges in military and defense industry fields, according to the ministry.

"To continue such efforts for cooperation, the two sides agreed to hold the second round of meetings next year in Seoul," the ministry said in a release.

The Seoul-Riyadh committee was formed last December after Saudi Arabia suggested the establishment of a vice ministerial-level consultative entity to boost defense and military ties between the two sides.

Suh then met with Saudi Arabia's military chief of staff, Gen. Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, and explained the significance of the inter-Koran comprehensive military agreement signed in September last year and progress under the pact, the ministry said. He also expressed gratitude for Saudi Arabia's support and cooperation for Seoul's peace drive.

"The general called for a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issues, as well as the expansion of military ties between Seoul and Riyadh," the ministry noted.

Suh also had talks with key defense ministry officials in the Arab nation, including Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's deputy defense minister, during his three-day visit to the Arab country from Monday.

He is now in Turkey to attend the 14th International Defence Industry Fair and to meet officials there. Suh is scheduled to return home Saturday.

Source: Yonhap news Agency