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Visit to the United States of America, the Republic of Korea and Japan



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MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

Jj. AUSTRALIA w4ยท

FA 28 16 March 1998

VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA AND JAPAN

I will begin visits this week to the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan, 18-27 March, during which I will have detailed discussions on the Asian economic crisis and, in particular, the situation in Indonesia.

I will fly on Wednesday to Washington for talks with my American counterparts, with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mr Michel Camdessus, and the President of the World Bank, Mr James Wolfensohn, on the continuing economic crisis in Indonesia. These talks are part of a continuing dialogue which the Australian Government has been vigorously pursuing. They are designed to ensure the maximum by way of coordinated approaches amongst the international community. As both a contributor to the IMF package for Indonesia and a neighbour of that country, with great strategic interests at

stake in Indonesia’s economic and political stability, we naturally want to see further agreement quickly reached between Indonesia and the IMF. Such agreement is fundamental to the process of restoring stability and, over time, restoring growth in Indonesia. I will also have discussions on Indonesia and the Asian economic crisis in both Seoul and Tokyo.

Korea is an important strategic and economic partner for Australia and on this visit I shall have an opportunity to establish early contact with Korea’s new Administration, including meeting President Kim Dae-Jung. Australia contributed to the IMF package to Korea and welcomes the progress Korea has made in implementing its conditions. I am confident that

Korea has both the capacity and will to return to strong economic growth as soon as possible. I will also discuss the bilateral relationship, in particular trade, with the Korean Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Dr Park Chung-Soo, as well as a range of regional and multilateral

issues.

While in Japan, I will meet with a number of Japanese leaders, including Foreign Minister Obuchi and the Chairman of Keidanren, Dr Shoichiro Toyoda. Given the close ties between Australia and Japan, the key roles both countries have in contributing to a resolution of the crisis, and Japan’s status as our largest market and major source of investment, the visit is very important and timely. I will also be taking the opportunity to exchange views on issues

such as APEC, Asia-Europe Meetings (ASEM) and the ASEAN Regional Forum.

I will be accompanied by a group of very senior advisers, including the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Mr John McCarthy, the Director General of AusAID, Mr Trevor Kanaley, and senior officers from Treasury and DFAT.

Further information: Innes Willox - 0411 414 695 Tony Melville - (02) 6261 1555

Media releases and speeches ore available from DFAT via the internet, http://www.dfot.gov.au/