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Defence minister on visit to S. Korea and China

Defence minister Ueli Maurer, on a week-long visit to Asia, has called for closer cooperation in military training and sport with South Korea.

During talks with his South Korean counterpart, Kim Kwan, in Seoul, Maurer pledged Switzerland’s commitment to its observer mission in the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas.

Maurer said he hoped the situation would soon make the Swiss contingent of five officers with the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission obsolete.

Switzerland has been providing observers for the mission at Panmunjom since 1953.

Maurer, who is also sport minister, met South Korean sport minister Choung Byoung-Gug to discuss possible exchange of know-how for the organisation of winter sport competitions, according to a defence ministry spokesman.

Earlier this month South Korea won the bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Maurer has travelled on to Beijing where he is to meet his Chinese counterpart, Liang Guanglie, on Thursday. and agencies

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