Seoul, Beijing Close to Setting Up Defense Hotline

Seoul and Beijing will likely conclude an agreement to set up a hotline between their defense ministries this year.

A government source here said Sunday that the two sides will meet for a fourth round of the strategic defense dialogue in Beijing on Tuesday and have final discussions on establishing the hotline.

"They're on the brink of reaching agreement," he added.

Official discussions started in the third round of the dialogue in Seoul in November last year.

Beijing was initially unenthusiastic due to its close alliance with North Korea but became more interested after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Seoul early this month, and lower-ranking officials made rapid progress in negotiations.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 21, 2014 09:56 KST