Aus­tralia and South Korea: Strength­en­ing Mid­dle-power Bonds

Aus­tralia and South Korea: Strength­en­ing

Global Asia - - CONTENTS - By Gareth Evans

as China’s in­flu­ence grows and us leadership is fraught with un­cer­tainty, co-op­er­a­tion on global and re­gional chal­lenges is more needed than ever.

At a re­cent sym­po­sium in Aus­tralia, for­mer for­eign min­is­ter Gareth Evans out­lined the im­por­tance of re­la­tions be­tween his coun­try and South Korea, and how these two mid­dle pow­ers can work to­gether to con­trib­ute to ad­dress­ing a host of re­gional and global chal­lenges. aus­tralia-south KOREA re­la­tions, al­though strong, have never quite reached their full po­ten­tial, and it’s time that they did — eco­nom­i­cally, in peo­ple-to-peo­ple so­cial and cul­tural terms, and above all, given the present fraught and frag­ile re­gional en­vi­ron­ment, in po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity terms. That will be the theme of my talk to­day, tak­ing each of these ar­eas in turn, with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on the se­cu­rity and strate­gic di­men­sion. I hope that in do­ing so I will be very much re­flect­ing the con­cerns and pre­oc­cu­pa­tions that have brought you to­gether for this im­por­tant sym­po­sium, jointly spon­sored by the academy of Korean stud­ies, the aus­tralia-korea Foun­da­tion, the aus­tralian Cen­tre for asian busi­ness, the King se­jong In­sti­tute ade­laide and the univer­sity of south aus­tralia busi­ness school. Thank you to the or­ga­niz­ers for invit­ing me to join you.

The strength of our re­la­tion­ship with south Korea has had its ups and downs, the downs mainly as­so­ci­ated with con­cerns on our side on hu­man rights is­sues — not least the threat­ened ex­e­cu­tion of Kim Dae Jung in 1980 — dur­ing south Korea’s less demo­cratic pe­ri­ods, now thank­fully well in the past. but with diplo­matic re­la­tions firmly es­tab­lished since the early 1960s

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