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ROK-UK Defense Ministers Meeting

ROK-UK Defense Ministers Meeting

□ On July 21, Minister Suh Wook had a ROK-UK Defense Ministers Meeting with Secretary Ben Wallace and exchanged views on defense exchange and cooperation between the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom.

□ During the ministerial meeting, held in Korea as part of the Secretary's Indo-Pacific tour, Secretary Wallace elaborated the UK's Indo-Pacific Tilt whereby the UK pursues a multifaceted approach to expand its cooperative endeavors with Asian nations including the ROK.

   ◦ In particular, Secretary mentioned the UK's wish to also further expand bilateral exchange and cooperation in the field of defense as the ROK is one of the core regional partners for the prosperity and development of the region in the coming years. He conveyed the UK's appreciation for the ROK's cooperation with the Royal Navy's HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group's visit to the ROK in the second half of this year.

   ◦ And He also said “It’s always fantastic to come to the Indo-Pacific – this great crossroads of commerce and hub of innovation – but it’s particularly special to be here in the Republic of Korea, a valued and long-standing friend of the UK, and a crucial partner in Defence and Security.

      Our nations might be thousands of miles apart but we have so much in common. Not least our shared commitment to democracy, justice and freedom and our absolute determination to defend the values we hold dear”.

□ Minister Suh mentioned that Seoul wishes to expand its cooperative endeavors in various fields including defense with the United Kingdom which is an UN sending state during the Korean War and long-standing friend of the ROK.

   ◦ Having regard to this, both the Minister and the Secretary agreed to expedite exchange and cooperation activities such as regular meetings including but not limited to inter-service talks between the ROK and UK Armed Forces, high-level and inter-unit exchanges, etc. as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic permits.

□ Minister Suh explained Seoul's efforts towards the denuclearization and establishment of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, and asked for the UK's cooperation and support to that end.

   ◦In response, Secretary Wallace assured that the UK fully supports the ROK-led endeavors to improve inter-Korean relations and realize the denuclearization of the Peninsula, and that the UK will spare no support for the settlement of permanent peace on the Peninsula.

□ Both sides also discussed the UK's participation in 2021 Seoul Defense Dialogue planned for this coming September through which both nations will seek multilateral cooperative avenues. In addition, the UK assured of its active commitment and cooperation for the success of the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Meeting in December.  END.