An Australian Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AWAC) aircraft will participate in the Proliferation Security Initiative Exercise Eastern Endeavour 2012 to be hosted by the Republic of Korea from 24-27 September.
Australian officials will also participate in the associated Operational Experts Group meeting and table top component of the Exercise.
I spoke last week to my Republic of Korea counterpart, Minister for National Defense General Kim Kwan-Jin, and advised him of Australia’s participation in Exercise Eastern Endeavour 2012.
Minister Kim welcomed Australia’s participation in this year’s exercise following the participation of an Australian AP-3C aircraft in Exercise Eastern Endeavour 2010.
Minister Kim conveyed his personal condolences for the recent tragic loss of five Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. Minister Kim said Australia’s contribution to Afghanistan was well recognised and well respected by the international community.
Minister Kim and I welcomed progress in practical bilateral defence cooperation following Minister Kim’s visit to Australia in December last year for the inaugural Australia-Republic of Korea Defence Ministers’ Dialogue.
During that Dialogue, Minister Kim and I signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the Field of Defence Cooperation. We agreed to enhance the Australia-Republic of Korea Defence relationship in four key areas: strategic dialogue, information sharing, exercises and defence industry.
Following agreement at the Dialogue, HMAS Ballarat participated in the inaugural bilateral maritime exercise between the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Republic of Korean Navy (ROKN) Exercise HAIDOLI WALLABY (EHW) in Korea in May 2012.
Minister Kim and I also discussed the possibility of holding the inaugural Australia-Republic of Korea Foreign and Defence Ministers (“2+2”) Dialogue in Korea before the end of this year.
Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392