Second Australia-Korea Dialogue

Co-chairs' Summary

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Canberra, Australia

The second Australia-Korea one-and-a-half-track dialogue was held in Canberra on Wednesday 12 October 2011.

The Dialogue was organised by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with funding from the Australia-Korea Foundation. Korean participation in the Dialogue was co-ordinated by the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade with funding and operational support from the Korea Foundation.

Professor Michael L’Estrange, Director, National Security College, Australian National University, co-chaired for Australia. Dr Kim Woo-sang, Professor of Political Science, Yonsei University, co-chaired for the Republic of Korea. A full list of participants is attached.

Dialogue participants analysed the strong forces of change at work in the Asia-Pacific region and assessed their impact on the strategic interests of Australia and the Republic of Korea. They discussed practical ways in which both countries could further enhance their security cooperation in response, flowing from their common position as creative, democratic middle-powers which strongly support rules-based conduct in international affairs.

Dialogue participants identified key common interests of Australia and the Republic of Korea, including:

  • Security and stability in our region, including the complete and verifiable denuclearisation of North Korea, prevention of its proliferation of nuclear and ballistic-missile technologies and deterrence of further North Korean provocations.
  • Both countries’ defence alliances with the United States, which are indispensable to the security of Australia and the Republic of Korea and of the broader Asia-Pacific region.
  • The development of regional mechanisms that can deal effectively with the challenges of the 21st Century.
  • Promotion of economic conditions that enable continued growth and development across Asia and the Pacific, including freer trade and investment flows, effective development assistance and effective, coordinated responses to natural and other disasters.

Dialogue participants identified common concerns shared by Australia and the Republic of Korea, including:

  • Changing leadership and power relationships and expanding military capabilities in our region.
  • Competing territorial claims and other risks in the maritime domain, including piracy.
  • Development and proliferation of nuclear and missile technology, and of other weapons of mass destruction.
  • New and emerging security and law-enforcement risks, such as the threat posed by cyber attacks and cyber crime.
  • Signs of a resurgence of nationalism and trade protectionism.

Dialogue participants:

  • Agreed that Australia and the Republic of Korea were natural partners in dealing with the challenges of the 21st Century, given their shared values, common interests and complementarity of their economies and, where practical, the two countries should coordinate policy on key developments shaping the region.
  • Emphasised the link between economic and security issues and, thus, the importance of continuing strong cooperation between Australia and the Republic of Korea in the G20, and of concluding bilateral free-trade-agreement negotiations to consolidate relations between the two countries.
  • Welcomed the significant advances in security cooperation between the two countries achieved under the March 2009 leaders’ Joint Statement on Enhanced Global and Security Cooperation.
  • Endorsed the Action Plan that supports the Joint Statement on Enhanced Global and Security Cooperation and highlighted the need for effective whole-of-government cooperation in both countries to ensure Australia-Republic of Korea cooperation reaches its full potential.
  • Recognised the need for Australia and the Republic of Korea to work closely together to strengthen regional cooperation mechanisms, including the East Asia Summit, to encourage constructive engagement on regional issues among relevant countries.
  • Considered that Australia and the Republic of Korea should further enhance diplomatic cooperation to increase their influence in regional and international affairs, including at the United Nations, and on key issues of concern such as counter-terrorism, nuclear non-proliferation and new security issues.
  • Acknowledged the importance of next year’s Nuclear Security Summit to be hosted by the Republic of Korea; encouraged closer Australia-ROK cooperation on nuclear-safety issues, including to ensure the issue is addressed in regional fora; and urged a further strengthening of practical cooperation under the Proliferation Security Initiative.
  • Recommended that Australia and the Republic of Korea explore more deeply ways to exercise soft power in the region through development of civilisational links and closer cooperation and exchanges in education, science, politics, culture, media and sports, both bilaterally and together with key regional countries.
  • Agreed that the excellent relations between the leaders of Australia and the Republic of Korea should be maintained; and a 2+2 meeting of foreign and defence ministers would take the relationship to a new level, commensurate with its expanding, strategic nature.
Last Updated: 29 January 2013