H.E. SAM GEROVICH
AMBASSADOR OF AUSTRALIA
It is my pleasure to offer this message of congratulations during this, the Australia-Korea Year of Friendship. This is particularly pleasing given the description of the bilateral relationship by Prime Minister Gillard during her recent visit to Korea, as a natural partnership.
This is a partnership full of further promise and potential. It is well understood how Australia’s strengths in raw materials, energy and services have long complemented Korea’s strengths in mass production and heavy industry. Australia is a proven, safe, reliable and price-competitive supplier of many of the inputs that Korea has needed to drive its exports of automobiles, ships and electronics goods to global markets and, in turn, drive its economic growth at home. As our economic relationship has grown, Korean companies have also prospered in Australia, with companies such as Hyundai-Kia, Samsung and LG becoming respected household names. In this regard, conclusion of a comprehensive FTA agreement to help further expand and deepen our trade ties is simply the next logical step.
The partnership is now moving beyond the traditional trade underpinning. Australia and Korea are similar-sized economies, and as free-trading nations, we are committed to a stable, open and rules-based global trading order. We are also both committed to a stable and prosperous Asia-Pacific, dynamic economically and free from conflict. We are both alliance partners of the United States and see the US presence in Asia as fundamental to regional stability.
We are G20 economies, members of the East Asia Summit, and active participants in APEC. As middle powers, we are committed to multilateralism and believe in doing our part to strengthen a rules-based global order.
Australia and Korea are also working together on global challenges such as climate change, clean energy and the global economic recovery. Our two countries share the challenge of building clean low-emissions economies for the future, and Australia has joined Korea’s Global Green Growth Institute as a core partner.
We have consistently demonstrated that there is a shared willingness to cooperate in helping address regional, as well as global security concerns. Beyond our immediate region, Australia and Korea have both worked to combat terrorism and counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Australian and Korean troops have also served together on combat and peacekeeping missions in many places around the world, including Vietnam, Cambodia, the Western Sahara, the Levant, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. Today our countries share a common interest in the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific, and especially the Korean Peninsula. Australia remains committed to the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and will continue to stand alongside Korea in condemning North Korean aggression.
Australia and Korea are also working closely together to strengthen the global economy, and together we will try and conclude Doha in 2011. Australia and Korea also worked very closely together to successfully establish the G20 as the premier global forum for economic cooperation. This was a significant achievement, creating a new architecture to meet the challenges of our changing world.
We also share key values. Our societies are vibrant democracies, with transparent and accountable governments. Our economies are competitive and dynamic, based on economic reform and productivity growth. Our peoples believe in the value of hard work and education.
As natural partners and close friends, I am personally committed to taking Australia’s relationship with Korea to an even higher level.