By Oh Seok-min
SINGAPORE, May 29 (Yonhap) — South Korea is set to engage in vigorous diplomacy in Singapore to fine-tune strategies with the international community in dealing with the ever-growing threats from North Korea, officials said Friday.
The 14th Asia Security Summit, better known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, is set to kick off later in the day for a three-day run, bringing together defense chiefs and experts from major Asia-Pacific and European countries.
The forum, hosted by the British think tank of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, is to be a venue for Seoul’s Defense Minister Han Min-koo to garner international support and boost defense ties with global partners on pending security issues, including how to deter and counter Pyongyang’s nuclear and missiles threats.
On Saturday, bilateral talks with his counterparts from the U.S., Japan, Thailand and Indonesia are scheduled, as well as a trilateral meeting with the U.S. and Japan. The following day, Han is scheduled to meet with Chinese, Australian, Singaporean defense chiefs before flying home, according to his office.
The conference came at a time when the communist North has ratcheted up tensions by launching a series of provocative actions. Earlier this month, Pyongyang announced that it had successfully fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile, while claiming that it has already made nuclear warheads small enough to fit on a missile.
“Based upon stronger policy coordination with countries concerned, we will explore ways on how to persuade North Korea to change its course,” Seoul’s defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said. “After all, there is a strong international consensus on the need to take action against the North’s evolving threats with asymmetric capabilities.”