South Korea, US agree to consider new defense dialogue on regional political cooperation

Kim Man-gi (right), South Korea’s Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy, and Siddharth Mohandas, US Assistant Deputy Secretary of Defense for East Asia, pose for a photo during the dialogue Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Division in Seoul on September 19. February 27, 2021, in this photo released by the Seoul Ministry of Defense. (Seoul Ministry of Defense)

South Korea and the United States have agreed to consider establishing a new bilateral operational-level defense dialogue aimed at promoting cooperation between their regional policy initiatives, an informed source said on Wednesday.

The United States pitched the idea of ​​instituting an informal channel of dialogue during the biannual allied defense talks, known as the Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue, last month, as Washington struggles to rally its regional democratic allies to counter China’s growing assertion.

“The South and the United States have reached an agreement on reviewing the platform for dialogue at the operational level to find a link between the Indo-Pacific strategy of the former and the new South policy of the latter,” he said. the source told Yonhap News Agency, on condition of anonymity.

“But the two sides have not yet decided when and if it will be launched and how it will be developed,” the source added.

The United States has been pushing for the Indo-Pacific strategy to promote what it calls the regional rules-based order, which it says could be undermined by China’s growing assertiveness.

For its part, Beijing lobbied for the One Belt One Road initiative – a grand geopolitical strategy to connect China with Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Europe and Africa through “Land and sea silk routes”.

The question of the proposed dialogue body is expected to be discussed when Seoul and Washington hold their annual defense ministerial talks, the Security Consultative Meeting, in Seoul later this year. (Yonhap)

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