In its 8th year, the annual Seoul Defense Dialogue brings together security officials and experts from fifty-six different countries and six international organizations.
Organized by South Korea's defense ministry since 2012, the multilateral security dialogue serves as a platform to discuss easing tensions on the Korean peninsula and building better security in the Asia-Pacific region.
This year's event draws much attention in that the forum comes in the wake of a series of key security events in Northeast Asia including South Korea's decision to terminate its military intelligence sharing pact with Japan and a deadlock in North Korea, U.S. denuclearization negotiations.
Also leading up to the event, there had been media speculation that the U.S. would not be represented in this year's event - an unprecedented move - which was quickly quelled by a last-minute confirmation by Washington that the U.S. Forces Korea Commander General Robert Abrams along with the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to South Korea will be in attendance.
Previously the U.S. Department of Defense said it wouldn't attend the event but South Korea asked the U.S. to rethink that, so deputy ambassador Rapson is taking part in the event on behalf of his superior Ambassador Harry Harris, who is unavailable due to his participation in a conference in the Maldives.
Choi Si-young, Arirang News.