Minister for Defence – Australia-Republic of Korea Foreign and Defence Ministers 2+2 Meeting

Joint Statement

11 September 2015

  1. Foreign Ministers Yun Byung-se and Julie Bishop and Defence Ministers Han Min-koo and Kevin Andrews met in Sydney today at the Second Foreign and Defence Ministers 2+2 Meeting between Australia and the Republic of Korea (ROK) to discuss ways to advance the defence and security relationship.
  2. The Meeting reaffirmed the importance of the Korea-Australia partnership, based on common values and shared interests. It identified, through a new Defence and Security Cooperation Blueprint agreed today, avenues for continued cooperation in a wide range of areas, including defence cooperation, counter-proliferation, transnational law enforcement, cyber security, border security, crisis management and maritime safety.
  3. The Korea-Australia partnership has evolved since Australian missionaries travelled to the Peninsula in the nineteenth century through the terrible conflagration of the Korean War into a modern relationship based on strong people-to-people and trade ties. Today, the two countries have an active free trade agreement delivering strong outcomes for both countries and an active education relationship which sees thousands of young Koreans studying in Australia. Security cooperation between the two countries has also continued to increase significantly over recent years. Both countries are vibrant democracies with market-based economies, committed to the rule of law and human rights.
  4. The Ministers paid tribute to the 340 Australian servicemen who died during the Korean War. They also recognised the contribution of the more than 17,000 Australian troops who fought in the War under the United Nations Command. All four ministers paid their respects at the Korean War Memorial in Sydney and spent time talking to veterans about their experiences and thanking them for their service.
  5. The Ministers welcomed initiatives to address the security challenges of the region, including the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative launched by the Korean Government. They also recognised the contribution of the US rebalancing toward Asia for peace and stability in the region.
  6. The Ministers recommitted to holding annual Defence Ministers and Foreign Ministers bilateral meetings and biennial 2+2 joint meetings of their foreign and defence ministers, in addition to seeking opportunities for regular bilateral heads-of-government meetings. These events sit at the pinnacle of a broad range of structured interactions and ties that make the bilateral security relationship what it is today.

The Korean Peninsula

  1. Australian Ministers agreed with ROK Ministers that the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula will contribute to the peace, security and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and beyond, and supported the Initiative for the Peaceful Unification on the Korean Peninsula proposed by President Park on March 28, 2014.
  2. The Ministers hoped that the agreement reached between the ROK and the DPRK on August 25, 2015 will lead to advancing inter-Korean relations and called on North Korea to fully implement the agreement. They urged North Korea to address its terrible human rights record as detailed by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea. The Ministers strongly deplored North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which threaten peace and security of the region and undermine the global non-proliferation regime. With regard to North Korea’s misguided efforts to develop nuclear weapons and its economy simultaneously, the Ministers urged North Korea to fully comply with all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions and its commitments under the 19 September 2005 Six-Party Talks Joint Statement. In this regard, the ROK and Australia will continue to reiterate support for full implementation of all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions. Both sides urged North Korea to return to a meaningful dialogue at an early date with sincerity, which would pave the way for the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Defence and security cooperation

  1. The Defence and Security Cooperation Blueprint, agreed by the Ministers today, sets out the broad scope of security cooperation between Australia and the ROK. The Blueprint reaffirms and builds on the Vision Statement for a Secure, Peaceful and Prosperous Future between the Republic of Korea and Australia, adopted by President Park and Prime Minister Abbott in Seoul on 8 April 2014.
  2. Recognising Australia’s valuable contribution to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, the Ministers agreed to strengthen practical defence cooperation.
  3. Enhanced practical defence cooperation includes increased opportunities to participate in military exercises in Australia and the ROK, as well as cooperate regionally and globally on security issues. Recognising the important role both countries can play on regional security issues, both defence forces will also cooperate in the preparation for, and conduct of, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. This will build upon previous cooperation, such as Australia and the ROK working closely together in the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 and in counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
  4. The Ministers agreed that both defence forces should work more closely together to prepare for peacekeeping operations and to cooperate closely on peacekeeping missions where both Australian and ROK personnel are deployed, including exchanging personnel on these missions.
  5. The Ministers noted the importance of the United Nations Command in maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula. They welcomed Australia’s continued participation in United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission inspections, investigations and observer missions to maintain the Armistice Agreement.
  6. The Ministers welcomed the signing of the Implementing Arrangement for Defence Education and Training at the Australia-Republic of Korea Defence Ministers’ Dialogue, noting the importance of establishing military-to-military links through reciprocal attendance at junior and senior staff courses, and the opportunities to exchange skills and knowledge through mutual participation in military training and education.
  7. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of Australia-ROK-United States trilateral defence cooperation, and decided to explore opportunities to increase
  8. The Ministers agreed to formalise cooperation in defence science and technology research with the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding in Defence Science, Technology and Research. Close defence industry collaboration would continue to be facilitated under the Defence Industry Memorandum of Understanding.
  9. Under the auspices of the new Blueprint, the Ministers also agreed to extend cooperation in a number of non-military security areas.
  10. The Ministers endorsed existing cooperation between the ROK and Australia on arms control and counter- and non-proliferation through shared membership of bodies ranging from the International Atomic Energy Agency to the Proliferation Security Initiative. The two countries will continue to share information and conduct cooperative outreach to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
  11. Australian Ministers commended the ROK on bringing under control the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome earlier this year. Australian and ROK Ministers agreed that the Australian Attorney-General’s Department and the ROK Ministry of Public Safety and Security would begin negotiating an MOU to share lessons learned and bolster capacity to deal with future crises. Australian and ROK maritime safety authorities will continue close cooperation in a wide range of activities, including on maritime safety and search and rescue, as well as environmental response.
  12. Australia and the ROK will continue to work together to develop international norms for responsible state behaviour in cyberspace, and in outer space. The two countries will also cooperate on taking forward risk reduction and conflict prevention measures in cyberspace, and to increase awareness of the importance of space security issues, including in the ASEAN Regional Forum. Computer Emergency Response Teams will cooperate under their working agreements and cyber areas of the respective law-enforcement authorities will further strengthen their collaboration.
  13. The Australian Federal Police and Korean National Police Agency will build on existing cooperation, including under their 2006 Memorandum of Understanding. They will identify opportunities for cooperative training and cooperation on counter-terrorism. Police agencies, as well as respective immigration authorities, will work together and with Bali Process partners on the illegal movement of people.
  14. The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection and its ROK counterpart authorities, including Korea Immigration Service, Korea Customs Service and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, will consult and, where mutually agreeable, advance their capacity to collaborate on border security.
  15. Australia and the ROK will continue to work together on issues in the Pacific, building that region’s resiliency in the face of disasters. The two countries agreed to hold annual meetings on cooperation in the Pacific and to endeavor to include the other in existing multilateral Pacific

Regional architecture and global issues

  1. The Ministers agreed to use Australia and the ROK’s positions as significant powers and major economies to bolster regional architecture and contribute to a rules-based international order. This would build on their partnership as former non-permanent United Nations Security Council members and cooperation in regional fora such as the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum and APEC. Australia thanked ROK for its strong leadership as the 2014-15 coordinator of MIKTA – the group of significant powers comprising Mexico, Indonesia, Korea, Turkey and Australia – and undertook to keep working with partners in MIKTA to enhance regional and global stability and prosperity during Australia’s year in the role (2015).
  2. The Ministers agreed to work closely to support Turkey’s G20 Presidency and to build on the outcomes of the last G20 Summit in Brisbane. A focus of cooperation will be implementing growth strategies agreed in Brisbane.
  3. The two countries committed to bolstering the work of the East Asia Summit, and other regional institutions. Australia and the ROK have clear shared strategic interest in building effective regional institutions that can help manage strategic challenges and build habits of cooperation and consultation. The Ministers welcomed positive discussions at the August East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and ASEAN Regional Forum Ministerial Meeting in Kuala Lumpur that included substantive discussions on the Korean Peninsula and support for regional cooperation on maritime issues and countering violent extremism. The Ministers also acknowledged the role of the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM Plus) as a means of enhancing practical military cooperation.
  4. Australia and the ROK reiterated their intention to continue to promote maritime security and safety in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other relevant international norms and the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight. The Ministers supported efforts by ASEAN and China to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and emphasised the importance of exercising self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability. At the same time, the Ministers called for an early conclusion of a meaningful Code of Conduct in an expeditious manner.

Next Meeting

  1. ROK Foreign and Defence Ministers thanked their Australian counterparts for extending warm hospitality and organizing this Meeting in an efficient and effective way. The four Ministers agreed to hold the next 2+2 meeting in Seoul, the ROK in 2017.

Media contacts:
Chloe Petch (Minister Andrews’ Office)             0477 395 356
Defence Media Operations                                 (02) 6127 1999


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