S. Korean, Saudi defense chiefs agree on regular ministerial dialogue on defense cooperation

SEOUL, The defense chiefs of South Korea and Saudi Arabia agreed Tuesday to install a regular ministerial-level dialogue on arms industry cooperation during their talks in Seoul, the defense ministry here said.

Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and his Saudi counterpart, Khalid bin Salman, held the talks as a follow-up to the two countries' summit in November last year, where their leaders voiced hope for stronger cooperation in defense, energy and other sectors.

Lee and Khalid agreed to institute the dialogue, and hold it annually to conduct "systematic and practical" discussions on bilateral defense and arms industry cooperation, according to the ministry.

"The two ministers agreed to work together to develop defense and arms industry cooperation between the two nations in a future-oriented manner based on the two countries' solid trust and cooperative relationship," it said in a press release.

Lee expressed expectations that ongoing negotiations on South Korea's defense exports to Saudi Arabia will be concluded successfully, while explaining progress that the country's arms industry has made.

The ministry did not elaborate on the negotiations. Saudi Arabia is known to be considering the introduction of the South Korean-made Cheongung II midrange surface-to-air missile system.

Khalid reiterated his country's intent to cooperate closely with South Korea, according to the ministry.

It marks the first visit by a Saudi defense minister to Seoul's defense ministry.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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