19 October 2023
On 19 October 2023, the Republic of Korea (ROK) Minister of National Defense Shin Won-sik and Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles met in Seoul, following attendance at the 2023 Seoul Defense Dialogue. Ministers reaffirmed the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Australia and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and committed to expand cooperation bilaterally and with regional partners and institutions to promote a free, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region with adherence to rules and norms.
Ministers emphasised that the Australia-ROK defence relationship continues to develop in a positive direction based on shared strategic interests.
Ministers exchanged the signed MOUs between the ROK Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Navy, and the Royal Australian Air Force to create opportunities for increased interoperability and more complex military exercises. Ministers also exchanged the Peace Operations MOU which will enhance peace operations training and cooperation. Building on these MoUs, Ministers agreed to explore ways to develop an enhanced framework of bilateral defense cooperation in a reciprocal and enduring manner.
Minister Shin said that the ROK Navy and Marine Corps sent the largest-ever ROK contingent to Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023 held in Australia and affirmed its substantive contribution in improving the Korean military’s combat readiness and extended area deployment capabilities.
Deputy Prime Minister Marles said ROK’s participation in Exercises Talisman Sabre 2023 and Pitch Black 2022 was significant milestone in the bilateral defence relationship. Deputy Prime Minister Marles also welcomed ROK’s inaugural contribution to Indo-Pacific Endeavour and underwater explosive ordinance disposal operation in the Pacific region, Operation Render Safe, earlier this year. Ministers agreed to continue bilateral and multilateral joint exercises and activities to mutually enhance capability.
Ministers welcomed the progress made on the LAND 400 Phase 3 (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) project with the Korean defense industry company selected as the preferred tenderer. Ministers highlighted the value of defence industry, and defence science and technology cooperation and agreed to continue related discussions in the future.
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