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Olympic visit Swiss and South Korean defence ministers hold talks on cooperation

Guy Parmelin with big Swiss flag

Defence Minister Guy Parmelin, who also holds the Sport portfolio, is in South Korea for the Winter Olympics

(Keystone)

Swiss Defence Minister Guy Parmelin held talks on Friday in Seoul with his South Korean counterpart Song Young-moo on issues including plans for a data protection agreement between the two countries. 

The pair also discussed the security situation on the Korean peninsula and Switzerland’s involvement on the demarcation line between North and South Korea as part of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC), according to the defence ministry. 

On Thursday, the first day of his visit, Parmelin went to Panmunjeom in the demilitarized zone to “get an idea…of the work done by the Swiss officers,” the Defence ministry said in a statement. Swiss army officers have been present in the region since the end of the Korean war in 1953, where they are tasked with overseeing the ceasefire.

+ Read more about the Swiss military presence on the Korean border

Parmelin, also the sport minister, is in South Korea for the closing events of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, which ends on Sunday. 

On Friday he visited the House of Switzerlandexternal link in Yongpyong and expressed pride in the achievements of the Swiss Olympics team, which had just won a 12th medal. 

He also spoke about the possible Swiss candidacy for the Winter Olympics in Sion in 2026. Parmelin said canton Valais, of which Sion is capital, already has the necessary infrastructure. “That is why holding the Games in the Alps would be possible with a much lower budget than Pyeongchang or Beijing,” he said. 

ATS/jc

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