Leaders meet to sign defense agreements with South Korea and Australia.

CANBERRA (Australia) -- Monday's signing of a $720 million defense agreement between Australia and South Korea was a historic moment for South Korea President Moon Jae-in, who became the first foreign leader to visit Australia in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Leaders meet to sign defense agreements with South Korea and Australia.

The deal, which is worth approximately 1 billion Australian dollars will see South Korean defense firm Hanwha supply the Australian army artillery weapons, supply cars, and radars.

This is the largest defense contract between Australia, an Asian country, and it comes at a time when tensions are high between Australia and China. Australia announced recently a partnership agreement with Britain and the U.S. to build nuclear-powered submarines. This move was strongly condemned by China.

Moon met Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, during his visit. The two leaders agreed that they would enhance the formal ties between their countries to a "comprehensive strategy partnership."

They also stated that they would collaborate on the development of clean energy technologies including hydrogen and on facilitating supply of crucial minerals, which Australia has in abundance.

Morrison stated that the new defense contract would generate about 300 jobs in Australia where a Hanwha division operates.

Moon stated that South Korea has similar geopolitical values as Australia, and also that China's relationship was crucial, especially when it comes to peace negotiations with North Korea.

Moon stated that South Korea is focusing on the strong alliance with the U.S. as well as China. We want a harmonious relationship."

Peter Dutton, the Australian Defence Minister, stated that his government is committed to maintaining safety in the region and that the new contract will help modernize Australia's army.

Dutton stated that the primary ability of these vehicles was to fire and move quickly while avoiding enemy counterattacks. This project will result in a significant increase of firepower and security for Australian artillery capabilities.

South Korea is Australia's fourth largest trading partner and fourth-largest market for exports under a free trade accord that has been in effect since 2014. This year marks 60 years of diplomatic ties.

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