SEOUL, 31st December, 2015 (WAM) — South Korea and China have set up a hotline between their top defence officials today to reinforce their cooperation on security issues on the Korean Peninsula and in the region.

Defence Minister Han Min-koo had his first telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart, Chang Wanquan, earlier in the day on the newly established hotline, the Ministry of National Defence said in a press release.

“During today’s phone call, the two defence ministers shared their understanding of the need to expand defence exchanges between their countries,” the ministry said.

The opening of the Seoul-Beijing hotline seeks to beef up “strategic communication” with China and lay down a mechanism for close cooperation for various security situations on the Korean Peninsula and in their region, according to the ministry.

In a summit held in July, 2014, in Seoul, President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached an agreement to launch the direct phone line.

In light of the agreement, the countries’ defence ministries have closely worked together to set up the hotline, the ministry said.

“South Korea will proactively capitalise on the hotline to improve mutual understanding and trust and to reinforce high-level strategic communications,” it added.

It is South Korea’s third defence minister-level hotline with a foreign country, following those with the United States and Japan, which were established in 1995 and 1999, respectively.

WAM/B. I. Min