SEOUL-- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday called for increased cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and stressed the need for the two sides to work together to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.

"I appreciate and agree with the fact you stressed that the North Korean nuclear issue must be resolved through diplomatic means," the president said while meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at his presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

Moon noted his country maintained close relations with NATO member states, noting many of them sent troops to help defend South Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War.

"And so the country hopes the cooperative relationship between the country and NATO as global partners will further develop, and wishes it will especially be enhanced in the military sector," he added, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.

Stoltenberg arrived here Wednesday for a three-day visit to discuss ways to boost NATO's cooperation with South Korea and their joint efforts to rein in North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile capabilities. He held bilateral talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Wednesday.

Noting his trip to the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas earlier in the day, the NATO chief said he was moved to see South Korean troops defending not only peace on the Korean Peninsula but in the entire world, according to the Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.

The South Korean president highlighted the importance of a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear standoff, noting the country's capital Seoul sat less than an hour away from the inter-Korean border.

"South Korea holds a strong wish that there must never be another war on the Korean Peninsula because it has the painful experience of millions of people being killed in the Korean War," he said, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-hyun.

Stoltenberg promised support for Seoul's move to end the nuclear standoff peacefully. He stressed the need for economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure on the North, saying such measures are aimed at resolving the North Korea problem peacefully, according to Park.

Source: Yonhap News Agency