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Downer to visit Japan, Korea and Hong Kong.



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Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Media Release Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer

25 May 2001

Downer to Visit Japan, Korea and Hong Kong

I will visit Japan, Korea and Hong Kong from 28 May to 1 June.

Key foreign policy issues will feature in my discussions in both Japan and the Republic of Korea, especially on our respective commitments towards East Timor, emerging regional fora and our valuable economic and strategic cooperation in APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum.

In Japan I will meet key members of the new Koizumi Government early in their term of office.  As underscored in the recent Australia-Japan Conference and Strengthening Economic Relations Studies, it is expected that Australia and Japan will reaffirm the importance of the bilateral relationship to both of our countries.  I will explore ways to further strengthen Australia-Japan relations, including through enhanced dialogue and cooperation to address regional and global challenges.

In Seoul I will have a range of high-level meetings, including a meeting with President Kim Dae-jung.  I will have extensive exchanges with my Korean counterpart, Dr Han Seung-soo, in the newly formalised framework of the Australia-Korea Foreign Ministers’ Meeting - one of the outcomes of President Kim Dae-jung’s visit to Australia in 1999.  I am keen to discuss progress in efforts to reverse the legacy of 50 years of confrontation on the Peninsula.  I will also have the opportunity to take up Australia’s strong interest in our expanding commercial links.

The main purpose of my visit to Hong Kong will be to underline Australia’s continuing support for its autonomy as a Special Administrative Region of China, which underpins its success as an international business centre.  The visit will also provide an important opportunity to brief key economic decision-makers and the regional media on the underlying strength of the Australian economy.  I will meet with Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa and other senior government figures, as well as with leading financial sector executives, in support of our substantial interests in Hong Kong.

For further information:    (Ministerial)  Matt Francis  (02) 6277 7500 or 0419 206 890 (Departmental) Julie McDonald (02) 6261 1555 or 0417 219 785

FA62/2001

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