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Tuesday, 11 October 1983
Page: 1523


Mr HAYDEN (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —I join with the Prime Minister ( Mr Hawke) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Peacock) in the expressions of concern and condolence which they have put before the House on behalf of this Parliament and the people of Australia. The great tragedy for the Republic of Korea is that the aching bereavement, so cruelly inflicted upon it but a matter of a few weeks ago with the inexcusable destruction of a civil airliner and the loss of nearly 300 lives, must be compounded by this horrific act. Whoever is responsible for it, whatever the motives, stands condemned. There can never be any excuse for this sort of wanton behaviour. The Prime Minister has very properly condemned this incident. At this stage we do not know who is responsible for it or what may have been the cause for taking such an unspeakable and indiscriminate course of action resulting in the death of some of the most talented people available to the Republic of Korea to administer its affairs and its development at a time of challenging transition.

As the Prime Minister mentioned, there are those of us who have had the pleasure of personal contact with a number of the unfortunate representatives of the Government of the Republic of Korea who lost their lives in this incident. I am, as the Prime Minister pointed out, one such person. I enjoyed meeting Mr Lee Bum Suk, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, on several occasions and I greatly appreciated the support which he extended to Australia and to activity which I was undertaking on behalf of Australia. He was, it seemed to me, an outward looking man, well understanding small '1' liberal values of Western society. He was able to transmit successfully the views which I was seeking to put on behalf of the Australian Government on certain potentially provocative matters to senior members of his Government in a way which avoided what otherwise could have been an unpleasant confrontation. I was deeply grateful and much indebted to him for the help that he gave. I was, accordingly, very much bereaved, shocked and numbed, as was the rest of the world, when reports of this incident spread about the globe.

Mr Kim Dong Whie, Minister for Commerce and Industry, was also well disposed towards Australia. In a situation in which questions have been asked about our trading policy and our trading relations-questions not unusual, I discover from time to time when there is a trade imbalance-Mr Kim had a genuine respect and regard for this country. With his murder, Australia has lost a helpful representative of the Government of the Republic of Korea.

Mr Suh Sang Chul, Minister for Energy and Resources, who was a technocrat-I use the word in its most favourable sense-ably contributed towards the development of his country at a difficult and challenging time. His services too will be missed. Dr Hahm Pyong Choon, Secretary General to the President, was a man whose company I enjoyed on a number of occasions in Australia and in Korea. We inevitably had rather vigorous exchanges, at an intellectual and philosophical level, about the respective roles of our society and the influences which had worked upon them to shape them. I am afraid that I was often put on the defensive as I sought to justify the outlook that we westerners have on life, the style of life that we believe in and the sorts of values that we believe should predominate. The exchange, although always vigorous, was, I believe, at a fairly high intellectual level. Although it was not without its passion from time to time, I was always left with the greatest respect for a man who put the case of his Government faithfully and well. His intellectual credentials were extraordinarily impressive.

They are the four men with whom I had had personal contact. They were four men shaping the destiny of their country; they were four men who, like the other men , were representatives of the Government both in a political system and in an administration and their murders now deprive the country of a number of very talented people, people whose losses will be very great in their effect of the development of Korea. Korea is a nation whose sadness is now bathed in a bitterness which inflames its sense of justifiable outrage at the experiences it has had in recent times. We have to recognise that the Korean peninsula is in a trip wire situation and an unfortunate incident could lead to a conflagration of dimensions which none of us would wish to occur. In all of the circumstances I endorse, as does this Government and certainly the Prime Minister, the case for restraint which the United States of America has urged upon the Government of Korea in circumstances which we all understand to be extraordinarily provocative , extraordinarily bitter and to leave great distress in the Republic of Korea.

I join with all honourable members in expressing my condolences to the surviving members of the families of those unfortunate people who were killed in this mass murder. I particularly express my deeply felt sympathy to the surviving members of the families of those men with whom I had the opportunity, most productively, to be associated in the recent past.