By Lee Haye-ah
SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk Yeol met with Australia's deputy prime minister Tuesday and discussed bilateral cooperation in defense and the Indo-Pacific region, his spokesperson said.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles was in Seoul to attend the Korea-Pacific Islands Summit on behalf of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Marles doubles as Australia's defense minister.
Yoon thanked Marles for his attendance, saying it is encouraging to have another chance to discuss South Korea-Australia relations shortly after his summit with Albanese on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in Japan earlier this month, according to presidential spokesperson Lee Do-woon.
He also expressed hope the two countries, as key partners in the Indo-Pacific, will work together to expand cooperation with Pacific island nations, Lee said.
Marles concurred with Yoon and congratulated him on successfully hosting the inaugural Korea-Pacific Islands Summit, saying the participating leaders were very satisfied with the outcome.
The deputy prime minister also voiced hope for close coordination between the two countries as they increase cooperation with Pacific island states for regional peace and prosperity, while also strengthening cooperation between South Korea and Australia in diverse areas based on their comprehensive strategic partnership, according to Lee.
Yoon especially noted Australia's Defense Security Review announced last month, saying he hopes for close communication through the two countries' 2+2 talks involving their foreign and defense ministers, given the many similarities in their strategic approach to building peace and stable supply chains in the Indo-Pacific.
Marles said Australia hopes to take bilateral defense cooperation one step further in line with the changing security environment and looks forward to South Korea's advanced defense companies playing a greater role in enhancing Australia's defense capabilities, according to Lee.