Regarding North Korea's recent test-firing of long-range cruise missiles, the foreign and defense ministers of South Korea and Australia stressed the importance of diplomatic engagement with the North.
At a press conference after a two-plus-two meeting in Seoul on Monday, South Korea's foreign minister said Korea is closely working with the U.S. in analyzing certain details, including the North's intentions.
"North Korea is resuming its nuclear and missile activities, including its recent firing of cruise missiles after six months. This shows urgent need for dialogue, engagement and diplomacy to fundamentally resolve these issues."
While welcoming South Korea's commitment for engagement with the North, the Australian foreign minister stressed the need for continued sanctions on the regime.
"We remain committed to enforcing UN Security Council and our own autonomous sanctions in relation to the DPRK until clear steps are taken towards complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization."
When asked about the Australian defense minister accusing China of "coercion" and "aggression" for its behavior in the region, Dutton said Australia wants peace in the region and to work with "like-minded democracies."
"As I say, our overarching priority in principle which I think we share deeply with the ROK is to make sure that we have that continued security in the Indo-Pacific. We have a respect for sovereignty and the two countries share values and perspectives that went right to that."
Regarding expansion of the U.S.-led intel-sharing program Five Eyes or the QUAD initiative, the ministers said the issues were not discussed at the two-plus-two meeting.
"There was no detailed discussion on the issues of Quad Plus or Five Eyes. Our government stands firm that we intend to cooperate with any global initiative that seeks openness, transparency and inclusiveness."
Marking 60 years of diplomatic ties, the ministers signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in cyber core technology while creating a space policy dialogue.
They also pledged to continue excavating and identifying the remains of the Australian veterans who participated in the Korean War.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.