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Korea to the Year 2000 - Mr Kerin launches new study today



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KOREA TO THE YEAR 2000 — MR KERIN LAUNCHES NEW STUDY TODAY

The Minister for Trade and Overseas Development, John Kerin, today launched an Australian study assessing the potential political and economic developments on the Korean Peninsula between now and the year 2000.

Mr Kerin launched the study, Korea to the Year 2000: Implications for Australia, in Seoul, where he is taking part in Promotion Australia '92, a campaign aimed at raising Australia's business and cultural profile in Korea.

Mr Kerin said that the study found that the Republic of Korea would continue to be a major and growing market for Australia. The Republic is currently Australia's third largest export market (Australian exports were worth A$3.4 Billion in 1991/2).

It forecasts that by the turn of the century, Australia would be dealing with a Republic of Korea which had a GNP greater than Australia's and a Democratic People's Republic of Korea more economically involved in the region.

According to the report, reunification of the two Koreas is unlikely for some years but it could come quickly if the Democratic People's Republic of Korea collapsed. The gradual merging of the two economies seems to be the most likely outcome.

It found that while the costs of reunification would be a huge burden for the Republic of Korea, forward planning by Australia would help ensure Australia's interests during a period of big change.

Mr Kerin said the new study was part of the longer—term, strategic approach to advancing Australia's interests in the fast growing Asia region.

The report was commissioned by the East Asia Analytical Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and prepared by a team of experts led by the Australian National Korean Studies Centre.

(Korea to the Year 2000: Implications for Australia can be obtained from AGPS bookshops) •

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