South Korea, UK hold 1st defense strategic dialogue to promote multifaceted security cooperation

South Korea and the UK have elevated director-level talks on defense policy to a vice-ministerial level defense strategic dialogue.

Jo Da-gyum

Jo Da-gyum

The Korea Herald


South Korea's Vice Defense Minister Shin Beom-chul (L) and his British counterpart, Annabel Goldie, pose for a photo before their talks in London on Monday. (South Korea's Ministry of National Defense)

July 20, 2022

SEOUL – South Korea and the United Kingdom committed to expanding “substantial” defense cooperation in multifaceted areas, including combined exercises, cyber domain and outer space, at the first vice-ministerial defense consultative meeting.

South Korea’s Vice Defense Minister Shin Beom-chul and his UK counterpart Annabel Goldie held a bilateral defense strategic dialogue on Monday afternoon in London, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

South Korea and the UK have elevated director-level talks on defense policy to a vice-ministerial level defense strategic dialogue.

Such a meeting was held for the first time to implement defense-related agreements at the “bilateral framework for closer cooperation,“ which was adopted on the occasion of the South Korea-US summit in June. In the framework, the two countries agree to deepen their partnership in a wide range of fields, including Indo-Pacific regional strategy, defense and security, North Korea issues, supply chains and trade.

During the meeting, Shin and Goldie agreed to activate regular military consultation channels between the two defense ministries as well as the army, navy and air forces to carry out the bilateral framework for closer cooperation, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.

Both sides also committed to “expanding bilateral, substantial cooperation” in the fields such as combined exercises and educational exchanges — where the two countries have worked together — as well as in the areas of emerging security challenges, including the cyber domain, outer space and terrorism.

In addition, Shin and Goldie shared the view that both sides would review strengthening cooperation in the area, including monitoring the implementation of UN sanctions on North Korea and exchange of officials between the two defense ministries.

During the meeting, Shin asked the UK to lend support to the South Korean government’s efforts for North Korea’s denuclearization and peacebuilding on the Korean Peninsula, explaining the recent security situation surrounding it.

Goldie said the UK has unwavering support for the South Korean government’s North Korea policy, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said. The minister of state also promised that the UK will actively cooperate to establish sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and as a traditional, friendly country to South Korea.

The two also discussed bilateral cooperation across the Indo-Pacific region.
The UK said it would tilt toward the Indo-Pacific in its Integrated Review of Security, Defense, Development and Foreign Policy issued in March 2021. The Yoon Suk-yeol government has been formulating its Indo-Pacific strategy framework.

Goldie said the UK hopes to “strengthen defense cooperation with South Korea which is a regional strategic partner in its process to expand engagement in the Indo-Pacific region,” according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry. In response, Shin said bilateral cooperation has “great potential for peace and stability in the region.”

The two also agreed to reinforce multilateral security cooperation on various occasions, including the Seoul Defense Dialogue scheduled for this September.

The security situation in Europe, including the war in Ukraine, was also on the agenda for the vice-defense ministerial meeting.

During a separate meeting, South Korea’s Air Force and the UK Royal Air Force signed on July 16 terms of reference to enhance defense space cooperation at the Royal International Air Tattoo airshow at Fairford, Gloucestershire.

The agreement outlines future cooperation between the UK Space Command and Space Center under the auspices of South Korea’s Air Force.

The arrangement paves the way for holding a “series of Space Engagement talks to strengthen defense space cooperation, integrating space capabilities as defense partners,” the UK Defense Ministry said on the day.

The space defense cooperation will “cover areas such as operational knowledge sharing, collaborative exercises and training, and personnel exchanges,” the ministry said. Both sides also expressed their “desire for the sharing of space-related information, through future information-sharing agreements.”

The agreement is a follow-up measure to the South Korea-UK bilateral framework for closer cooperation. Under the framework, the two countries commit to coordinating to keep the space environment sustainable and reduce risks from space threats, as well as integrating defense space capabilities and strengthening defense space cooperation.

scroll to top