Australia and South Korea: Strengthening Middle-power Bonds
Australia and South Korea: Strengthening
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