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Clark: Address at NZ Embassy Reception, Korea

7pm (10pm NZ Time)
Thursday 15 May 2008

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister

Address at NZ Embassy Reception

NZ Embassy
Seoul, Korea

Thursday 15 May 2008

It’s a very great pleasure to be back in Seoul again. This is my fourth visit to Korea as Prime Minister and my sixth visit overall.

New Zealand’s relationship with Korea is one of our most significant. It is broad and deep, and it is growing. We share many views and a common desire to build the relationship. We are natural partners in the Asia Pacific.

This visit is an important opportunity for me to meet the new President of Korea very early in his term of office. President Lee comes to office with a reputation as a man of action who wants to achieve a lot at home and through Korea’s offshore relationships.

I am delighted to be the first head of government to visit President Lee in Seoul since his inauguration. In turn I will be inviting him to visit New Zealand as soon as that it is possible in his busy schedule.

During our meeting tomorrow, we will discuss our shared vision for the relationship between our countries. I’m sure we will both want to note the progress made in many areas, from the trade and economic, to science and technology, and to our vibrant film industry relationship.

We’ve made good progress on negotiating a formal film co-production agreement. I am encouraging officials on both sides to work to finalise a quality agreement soon. A number of our good friends in the Korean film sector are here this evening and I value this opportunity to catch up with you.

Tomorrow I will also be interested to discuss some of President Lee’s policy priorities and how New Zealand can work with his administration on these. Education, energy policy, and government reform are areas which could be usefully discussed.

New Zealand has a strong sustainability agenda and is keen to link with other nations which share our passion for a more sustainable world. On Saturday I will be visiting Hyundai’s Namyang Technology and Research Centre to see how this leading company is tackling the sustainability challenge and whether there is scope for co-operation with New Zealand.

President Lee and I will also be talking about our ambitions for the New –Zealand-Korea trade and economic relationship. A new study of the potential for an FTA between us was completed late last year. It showed significant benefits for both sides from an FTA, noting that we were perhaps the two most complementary economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

While leaders and governments can work hard to advance relationships, much can also be done by other stake holders. Across business, the arts and culture, science and technology, and defence, New Zealanders and Koreans have done a lot to bring our countries together.

I thank all present this evening for your ongoing efforts to advance the Korea-New Zealand relationship, and for accepting our invitation to be here this evening.


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