S. Korea hosts forum to curb WMD proliferation

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SEOUL: South Korea will host the second round of its high-level multilateral security forum in Seoul next month to discuss how to curb proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

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The Seoul Defense Dialogue (SDD), a vice ministerial-level regional security forum held first in Seoul last year, will be held in Seoul again for three days from November 11 to discuss how to halt the spread of WMD and boost regional security cooperation, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said in a press release on Friday.

The forum was scheduled to bring together vice or assistance minister-level defense officials from 20 Asia-Pacific countries and two international organizations, including the United Nations (UN) and the European Union.

Among the participants would be those from China, the United States (US), South Korea, Russia, Japan, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Mongol.

“China and the US have yet to pick their participants, but they are reviewing the participation of vice or assistant minister-level officials,” Army Col. Moon Sang-kyoon, director-general of the arms control division at the Defense Ministry, told foreign correspondents in Seoul at a pre-briefing.

Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar have confirmed the participation of their vice defense ministers, Moon said, noting that several bilateral and multilateral meetings among senior officials will be held during the forum.

Moon said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was not invited to the forum given the overall security situation on the Korean Peninsula.

This year’s forum will consist of five sessions: peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia and comprehensive security in the Asia-Pacific Region; global non-proliferation and the role of Asia-Pacific countries; the role of the military within the governance of the national cyber security; directions for advancing the international rule of cyber security; defense planning in a time of budgetary constraint.

Moon said that the forum would focus on the WMD non- proliferation, which needs cooperation from countries, adding that ongoing security threats in the region were increasingly difficult for countries to respond individually.

PNA/Xinhua

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