(ATTN: UPDATES with additional info in paras 5-6; CHANGES photo)
By Kang Yoon-seung and Song Sang-ho
SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- The top military officers of South Korea and Belgium held talks Thursday in Seoul over regional security and bilateral defense cooperation, Seoul officials said.
The meeting between Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Gen. Kim Seung-kyum and Adm. Michel Hofman, the chief of defense of the Belgian Armed Forces, came amid Seoul's drive to strengthen global cooperation in countering North Korea's evolving military threats.
Kim explained the "grave" security situation, including indications of Pyongyang having prepared for a nuclear test, and called for Belgium's support for Seoul's peace efforts, according to JCS.
Hofman said that Belgium proposed the two countries work closely to enhance their militaries' exchanges and cooperation as "traditional friendly countries."
In a separate meeting, Vice Defense Minister Shin Beom-chul and Hofman agreed to activate bilateral and multilateral defense cooperation, as South Korea and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization seek to enhance cooperation in cyberspace and other areas.
Shin also expressed his gratitude to Belgium for condemning North Korea's nuclear development and missile threats, while backing South Korea's position at international bodies, such as the United Nations and the European Union.
Hofman plans to visit the South Korean Navy's 2nd Fleet in Pyeongtaek, 65 kilometers south of Seoul, and an observatory near the inter-Korean border.
Hofman is to depart from Seoul on Saturday.