BEIJING, July 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and China agreed to set up a hotline between their defense ministers, a South Korean diplomat said Wednesday, in another clear sign of improved ties between the former battlefield foes.
The agreement was reached at bilateral talks earlier in the day in Beijing between South Korean Vice Defense Minister Baek Seung-joo and China's army deputy chief of staff Wang Guanzhong, said the diplomat who attended the one-day talks.
"During the talks, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a hotline by the end of this year between defense ministers of South Korea and China," the diplomat said on condition of anonymity. Baek and Wang held the so-called Defense Strategic Dialogue, the fourth of its kind.
South Korea and China, which set up telephone hotlines between their navies and air forces in 2008, have been for years discussing ways to establish the defense chiefs' hotline.
China would be only the second country to have such a high-level military hotline with South Korea after the U.S. China fought alongside North Korea in the 1950-53 Korean War.
Baek and Wang also exchanged views on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, according to the diplomat.
<All rights reserved by Yonhap News Agency>