In the Zone 2011
Australia and Korea should continue to build on the model of "middle power cooperation" in order to facilitate mutual benefits, according to the Korean Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Ambassador Kim.
Speaking at the In the Zone Business Forum at The University of Western Australia today, Ambassador Kim said there were opportunities to cooperate across a broad range of economic and business initiatives.
He said Australia and Korea had enjoyed a long and beneficial relationship, and the current Year of Friendship, recognising 50 years of diplomatic ties, was an important celebration.
Ambassador Kim discussed the strong bilateral relationship that has seen two-way trade double in recent years to $25 billion in 2010. The Republic of Korea is Western Australia's fourth largest trading partner and has varied interests in the State.
"Western Australia is one of the great minerals resources of the world. In recognising this, a number of Korean companies have invested a significant amount in the energy and resources sector and have established representative offices in Perth," he said, highlighting investments in iron ore and LNG.
"Western Australia is the leading model of desirable economic cooperation between our two countries. Plus there are leading endeavours in science and technology."
Ambassador Kim described Korea and Australia as "typical middle powers" with strong economic capabilities, geo-strategic importance and many levels of global engagement.
He called for Western Australian leaders to enhance their understanding of the importance of the middle power relationship.
"People-to-people understanding is very important if we are to think strategically and contribute to a better understanding of Korea and promotion of the relationship."
Ambassador Kim described Korea as "cautious" about engaging in dialogue with North Korea, stating that unless the North Koreans demonstrated willingness to apologise for their actions, there would be no engagement.
Ambassador Kim has been the Korean Ambassador to Australia since 2008. Previously he was the Director of the Institution of East & West Studies at Yonsei University and a member of the Advisory Committee of the National Security Council.
The In the Zone forum is an intensive one-day meeting of 100 national and international leaders from the business, government and academic sectors.
With the theme ‘The Geography of Global Prosperity', the forum provides an opportunity for discussion and debate about the increasingly complex global neighbourhood and key policy questions facing Australia and the region.
The forum follows the success of the 2009 In the Zone Conference.
Sonia Nolan (ITZ Media Manager) (+61 4) 01 034 103
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716