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Report: S. Korean, Chinese defense ministers to meet next year

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The two will meet amid growing tensions between the Koreas
  • State media: The leaders will discuss "North Korea's military provocations"
  • The two Koreas have sharpened their rhetoric amid South Korean military drills
  • China
  • South Korea

(CNN) -- The South Korean defense minister will meet his Chinese counterpart next year amid growing tensions between the Koreas, Seoul state media said Sunday.

"Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin will meet with his Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie in Beijing during February," a defense ministry official told the Yonhap news agency. "Working-level officials will meet in January to set the agenda for the meeting."

Yonhap said the leaders will discuss "North Korea's military provocations and other regional security" problems.

The date of the meeting has not been determined, the official said.

Plans for the meeting have been underway since the second half of the year, Yonhap said.

Tensions between the Koreas have intensified since the March sinking of a South Korean naval ship that killed 46 sailors. An international investigating team concluded North Korea was responsible for the sinking -- an assertion the North has denied.

Both sides have increased their threats amid military exercises in the South and the North's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last month.

The shelling killed two South Korean marines and two civilians. The North has accused the South of provoking the attack because shells from a South Korean military drill landed in the North's waters.

Last week, North Korea threatened a "sacred war," and South Korea vowed a "merciless counterattack" to any provocations.