S. Korea joins Asia-Pacific military chiefs’ virtual conference on COVID-19, regional security

SEOUL, Military leaders from Asia-Pacific countries, including the United States, South Korea and Japan, gathered online for an annual security conference this week to discuss ways to foster regional cooperation, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said.
Co-hosted by the U.S. and Fiji, the virtual Chiefs of Defense (CHODs) 2020 conference took place from Aug. 24-25 (Hawaii time), involving 28 countries, under the theme of “Advancing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” the command said in a statement issued Monday.
This year’s annual conference was initially scheduled to take place in Fiji, but it was held virtually instead due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the meeting, the participants discussed the national security implications of COVID-19 and 5G mobile technologies and the role of multilateralism in advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region, according to the command.
“It is crucial we continue to engage with our allies and partners as we learn how to best operate in this new COVID environment,” INDOPACOM Commander Adm. Phil Davidson said.
“With the unprecedented challenges currently facing the Indo-Pacific, it is the strength of our partnerships and our collective capabilities that will enable us to successfully confront these challenges and continue to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he added.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Park Han-ki took part in major sessions, with the deputy chairman participating in part of the other programs, as South Korea is currently staging a major combined military exercise with the U.S., according to Park’s office.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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