South Korean Defense Minister Engages with NATO to Enhance Security and Defense Cooperation

SEOUL: In a move to bolster international security collaboration, South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik met with representatives from eight NATO member states on Wednesday. This meeting, hosted in Seoul, aimed to deepen ties in security and defense industry cooperation, as stated by the defense ministry.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Shin's engagement with the NATO representatives, including officials from the United States, Britain, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Poland, signifies a step towards strengthening South Korea's security position in the Indo-Pacific region. Their visit, a rare occurrence as South Korea is not a member of NATO, aligns with NATO's initiatives to enhance regional security cooperation, especially following South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol's participation in two NATO summits over the past two years.

During the discussions, Shin addressed the security challenges on the Korean Peninsula and underscored the importance of international cooperation to counter and respond to North Korea's provocations. The ministry quoted Shin stating, "The forces threatening South Korea, including North Korea, will face resolute responses not only from the South Korea-U.S. alliance but also from the international community, including NATO."

The meeting culminated with a mutual agreement that enhanced security cooperation between South Korea and NATO would contribute significantly to global peace and stability. Both parties committed to implementing practical cooperation measures to further strengthen their relationship.

The NATO delegation assured their continued support for collaborative efforts with South Korea in areas of security and the defense industry. This commitment builds on the momentum of the Individually Tailored Partnership Program, adopted in July, which has led to increased collaboration between South Korea and NATO in 11 areas, including antiterrorism, nonproliferation, emerging technologies, and cyberdefense.

Significantly, last month, South Korea participated in NATO's flagship annual cyber exercise, Cyber Coalition 2023, held in Estonia. This participation marked South Korea's first involvement in the exercise and underscored its commitment to enhancing collaboration in the realm of cyberspace.

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