SEOUL, April 8 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her Australian counterpart Tony Abbott on Tuesday agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation in defense and security amid growing missile and nuclear threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Abbott arrived in Seoul Tuesday morning to hold a summit with Park. Trade ministers of the two countries signed the bilateral free trade agreement in the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae attended by Park and Abbott.
The two leaders adopted a joint statement, named "Vision Statement on a Secure, Peaceful and Prosperous Future between the Republic of Korea and Australia," which stipulated on stronger cooperation in defense and security.
Under the 22-point statement, the two countries will step up diplomatic and defense cooperation, while fostering dialogue between intelligence officials. They will also take coordinated response, both regionally and internationally, to block proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Seoul and Canberra will strengthen cooperation in defense science and technology as well as in defense industry, while cooperating in non-military areas such as maritime security, humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
The statement also urged Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program and keep its past promises such as the Sept. 19 Joint Statement, in which the DPRK pledged to abandon all its nuclear weapons and nuclear program in return for energy aid and security guarantees.
Abbott welcomed Park's initiative to promote peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia, stressing the importance of reunification between the two Koreas.
The joint statement came amid escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula. After launching a volley of short- and medium-range missiles in protest against joint annual war games between South Korea and the United States, the DPRK threatened a "new form" of nuclear test to bolster up its nuclear deterrence against the U.S. hostile policy.
Three suspected DPRK drones were discovered in South Korea's western and eastern border areas in the past two weeks, boosting worries about air defense capability of the South Korean military.