Vietnam’s defense minister arrives in S. Korea

Vietnam’s defense minister arrives in S. Korea

SEOUL, Aug. 1 Kyodo

Vietnam’s Defense Minister Pham Van Tra arrived Wednesday in South Korea for a seven-day visit, the first by a Vietnamese defense minister since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1992, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said.

On Friday, Tra will hold talks with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Dong Shin aimed at substantially boosting bilateral military exchanges and cooperation, according to Defense Ministry officials.

The talks are expected to cover the recent situation on the Korean Peninsula and South Korea’s policy of reconciliation and cooperation toward North Korea.

In December last year, then South Korean Defense Minister Cho Sung Tae became the first-ever South Korean defense minister to visit Vietnam since the country was reunified in 1975.

During the Vietnam War, more than 320,000 South Korean troops fought alongside U.S. and South Vietnamese troops between September 1964 and March 1973, and more than 5,000 were killed. North Korea provided material support to the then North Vietnam.

During Tra’s visit, the two sides will sign memorandums of understanding on bilateral cooperation in the defense industry, and on exchanging military personnel, officials said.

Tra’s itinerary includes visits to South Korean military bases and defense industrial facilities, as well as paying a courtesy call on Prime Minister Lee Han Dong.

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