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New ambassador to Korea

Career diplomat David Taylor will be New Zealand's next Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Jim Sutton announced today.

Mr Taylor, who will replace incumbent Roy Ferguson in April, takes up the position at a dynamic time in South Korea/New Zealand relations, Mr Sutton said.

"The bilateral relationship is in good shape. Total trade between the two countries exceeded $2 billion in 2001 and increasing numbers of Koreans are visiting New Zealand as tourists or tertiary students.

"South Korea is also a valued partner for New Zealand at the international and regional level. It plays an important and influential role in a range of fora including the UN, the WTO, APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum."

Prime Minister Helen Clark's visit to Seoul last year further highlighted the importance of the relationship, Mr Sutton said.

"I am pleased to see our links with South Korea expanding across a number of levels, including cooperation in the science and technology sectors. Our two countries have much to offer each other, not only in trade and economic terms, but across the board."

Mr Taylor was most recently Deputy Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Personnel Division. He joined the Ministry in 1983 from the Prime Minister's Department and has previously been posted to Suva, Washington and Kuala Lumpur.

ENDS

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