S. Korea’s defense chief meets Malaysian prime minister

South Korea's Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup met with Malaysia's prime minister Wednesday to discuss ways to enhance bilateral defense and arms industry cooperation, Seoul's defense ministry said.

Lee paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim earlier in the day on the Malaysian island of Langkawi after his arrival in the country Monday for a four-day trip to attend the biennial Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition.

During the meeting, the two sides assessed that their countries have developed solid cooperative relations over the past 60 some years and that Malaysia's recent decision to introduce South Korea's FA-50 light attack aircraft marked a new turning point for the development of bilateral ties, according to the ministry.

Lee attended a contract signing ceremony the previous day that finalized Seoul's export of 18 FA-50s to the country. Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., South Korea's sole aircraft manufacturer, signed a letter of acceptance with Malaysia in February to supply the aircraft.

The Malaysian prime minister noted the introduction of the aircraft demonstrated that South Korea is an important and friendly country to Malaysia, and expressed hopes to further develop defense cooperation through people-to-people exchanges and combined exercises, according to the ministry.

Meanwhile, Lee requested the prime minister's interest and support in increasing the South Korean arms industry's role in Malaysia's future military reinforcement projects, including its push to introduce littoral mission vessels.

He also expressed Seoul's willingness to strengthen defense cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and asked for Malaysia's support for South Korea's bid to host the 2030 World Expo in the southeastern city of Busan.

Source: Yonhap News Agency