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AUS: President Of The Republic Of Korea To Visit

Visit By The President Of The Republic Of Korea

Release from the Prime Minister

I am pleased to announce that the President of the Republic of Korea, Mr Kim Dae-jung, will visit Australia from 15 to 18 September. It will be his first visit to Australia as President.

The President will be doubly welcome. He will be welcome because of the inspiration his career provides to all who value democracy and freedom. His steadfast commitment to his principles despite the great personal cost and his election to his country's highest post have won him respect and admiration around the world.

He will be welcome also because he is the leader of a country and people that have become increasingly close and important partners for Australia. Australia and Korea are both members of APEC. We are both allies of the United States. We share a commitment to security in the Asia-Pacific region.

Korea is Australia's third most important trading partner. Trade between us in 1998 was valued at $A10.3 billion. Korea is one of our largest markets for raw commodities such as coal, iron ore, and aluminium and petroleum products. Our people to people ties have grown stronger in recent years. Australia is now the third most important destination for Korean higher education students.

Since the Korean War, Australia has given strong support to efforts to maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula. We have made substantial contributions to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO) as an important element of international attempts to stop the North Korean nuclear weapons programme.

I look forward to President Kim's visit as an opportunity for Australia and the Republic of Korea to strengthen our links and for discussions between us on how we can best cooperate in promoting the prosperity and stability of our region.

25 August 1999

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