Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Defence Minister Stephen Smith will visit Seoul for the first Australia-Korea Foreign and Defence Ministers’ (“2+2”) Meeting on 4 July.
The Australia-Republic of Korea 2+2 Dialogue was agreed during Prime Minister Gillard’s visit to Korea in April 2011 and will provide an opportunity for discussions with Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se and Minister for National Defense Kim Kwan-jin on security issues, including Korean peninsula developments.
Senator Carr said this will be his first official meeting with his Korean counterpart since Mr Yun was appointed Foreign Minister in February.
“Australia has a natural partnership with the Republic of Korea,” Senator Carr said.
“It is our third largest export market, bringing in $25 billion in 2011.
“The Republic of Korea is described in the Asian Century White Paper as one of our five principal relationships.
“The nation is a critical player in regional stability and economic progress, occupying a central position in our region.”
Mr Kim visited Australia for the inaugural Australia-Republic of Korea Defence Ministers’ Dialogue in December 2011, meeting with Minister Smith and Prime Minister Gillard.
Minister Smith said Australia and South Korea hold regular foreign affairs and defence policy discussions, including through a senior-officials-levels strategic dialogue established in 2012.
“Australia and the Republic of Korea are like-minded middle powers, and our bilateral relationship is underpinned by shared strategic interests ,” Minister Smith said.
“The 2+2 meeting is an important initiative that Minister Kim and I agreed to work towards in 2011. Through regular, high level meetings, we can ensure an enhanced focus on defence engagement between our two nations and regularly share perspectives on shared security challenges”, said Minister Smith.
Apart from the US, Australia is the only country to have a “2+2” talks with the Republic of Korea.
Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Senator Carr’s Office: Louise Easson (02) 6277 7500 or 0419 206 068