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Korea-Thailand Agree to Actively Respond to COVID-19 through Military Medical Cooperation

Minister Suh Wook meets with Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister and Defense Minister of Thailand
Supporting the development of Korea-ASEAN defense cooperation
Discussing plans to expand defense-industrial cooperation

Discussing plans to expand defense-industrial coop

On January 20, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced that “Defense Minister Suh Wook has been visiting Thailand since the 19th, and discussing regional security situations including those of the Korean Peninsula as well as the development of bilateral defense cooperation and defense-industrial cooperation with Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister and Defense Minister of Thailand.”

At the meeting, Minister Prayut evaluated that mutual defense cooperation continues to develop based on a strategic partnership. In addition, he expressed his hope that the mutual defense-industrial cooperation as well as △ military training exchange, △ combined training, and an △ activated regular consultative body between Army, Navy and Air Force could be further expanded.

The two Ministers agreed that bilateral cooperation in the field of military medicine is more urgently needed than ever before because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and must be at the center of an active response by the two countries to the threat of infectious disease outbreaks, including COVID-19. Minister Prayut mentioned, “The role of the ASEAN Military Medical Center (ACMM) is very critical,” and urged Minister Suh “to share the know-how and experience of the ROK’s military, which has an advanced medical system.” In response, Minister Suh vowed to actively cooperate, and urged Minister Prayut to give special attention and support so that defense cooperation between Korea and ASEAN can be developed in a forward-looking manner based on the results of first ASEAN-Korea Defense Ministers Meeting held on November 10 last year and the ‘Korea-ASEAN Defense Cooperation Implementation Plan.’

The two Ministers also discussed the issue of bilateral defense cooperation. After expressing gratitude for Thailand's purchase of an additional T-50 advanced trainer from South Korea last July, Minister Suh mentioned, “Our two countries continue to work on the modernization of the Thai military, through various projects such as the T-50 performance improvement project, the second frigate project, and the Korean-style GPS guided bomb project. I expect that the Korean government can progressively contribute to these projects.” In response, Minister Prayut said, “We are reviewing the second frigate project as well. Thailand is willing to expand its defense cooperation with South Korea shortly after the COVID-19 situation becomes stable, and we hope to cooperate through the channels of the Ministry of National Defense and Defense Acquisition Program Administration.”

By Chae-Mu, Im < >

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