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[Minister Lee Jong-sup, Australia’s defense minister Marles hold talks] ROK, Australia agree to beef up joint military exercises...

Minister Lee Jong-sup and his Australian counterpart Marles hold talks;

Two ministers agree to continue bilateral cooperation on North Korea’s denuclearization and the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula

Two ministers to visit construction site for K9 howitzer factory together

Minister Lee Jong-sup and his Australian counterpa

[Minister Lee Jong-sup, Australia’s defense minist

[Minister Lee Jong-sup, Australia’s defense minist

[Minister Lee Jong-sup, Australia’s defense minist

The Republic of Korea (ROK) and Australia agreed to further strengthen their bilateral cooperation in a range of areas, including bilateral and multilateral joint military exercises in the region, defense science and technology, space, and the arms industry. Significantly, Australia hopes to strengthen cooperation with the ROK in the areas of defense and the arms industry while developing the military power for the next ten years.


Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup shared this view at the ROK-US defense ministerial talks with his Australian counterpart and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles held in Canberra, Australia on August 4 (local time).


During the talks, Lee stressed the need to enhance defense cooperation between the two countries based on their shared liberal democratic values, saying that “this visit to Australia is a follow-up measure to implement the agreements made at the ROK-Australia summit and the Asia-Pacific Partners (AP4) leaders’ meeting, which were held on the sidelines of President Yoon Suk Yeol’s first participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit as the president of the ROK last June.”


In response, Marles said “bilateral cooperation between our two countries, which share similar values, will greatly contribute to building a rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region.”


Significantly, Marles explained the Australia defense ministry’s ’Defense Strategic Review’ which specifies the development direction for military power over the next ten years, and its plan to complete the review by next March, adding “This aims to strengthen Australia’s defense readiness posture in response to the substantial changes in the security situation in the region since the announcement of ‘New Defense Strategy’ in 2020.” Marles also expressed his hope to “strengthen defense and arms industry cooperation with the ROK, a friendly country to Australia, while making a groundbreaking reinforcement of Australia’s defense capabilities over the next ten years, as well as preparing the defense strategic review.”


The two ministers also agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation through regular consultative bodies between the defense ministries and armed services of the two countries, including the ROK-Australia Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (2+2).

Lee said that “Australia has actively supported our government’s North Korea policy by faithfully implementing sanctions against North Korea,” and Lee and Marles reaffirmed that the ROK and Australia will continue to work together for North Korea’s denuclearization and the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula.


Meanwhile, Marles introduced Lee to the city of Geelong in Victoria, which is his hometown and his constituency, and is also where Hanwha Defense is building a new facility to produce K-9 self-propelled howitzers in keeping with the export contract signed in December 2021, and proposed to visit the construction site for K9 self-propelled howitzer factory together, as a symbol of the ROK-Australia arms industry cooperation, on August 5.


In response, Lee said “This ROK-Australia defense ministers’ visit to Hanwha Defense’s K9 self-propelled howitzer factory is a symbol of the future of defense cooperation between our two countries, and the K9 self-propelled howitzer factory will greatly contribute to the growth of the local economy in Geelong as well as the strengthening of Australia’s force capabilities and the enhancement of interoperability between the armed services of the two countries.”


Meanwhile, on August 3 (local time), Lee laid flowers on the Korean War Veterans Memorial monument in Australia and paid tribute to the sacrifices and dedication of Australia's war veterans. On August 4, Lee visited the ‘Australia Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI),’ an Australian think tank in the area of defense, to meet with specialists, including Chief of ASPI Justin Bassi, and they exchanged in-depth opinions on the ROK-Australia forward-looking defense and arms industry cooperation plan, as well as the security situation on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific region.

By Chul-Hwan, Kim < >

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