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Thursday, 17 November 1983
Page: 2881

Mr DRUMMOND —by leave-I present the official report of the Australia- Korea Parliamentary Group's Delegation to the Republic of Korea, from 5 to 12 June 1983. I seek leave to make a short statement in connection with the report.

Leave granted.

Mr DRUMMOND —An invitation for the visit, both oral and written, was received by the Australia-Korea Parliamentary Group from the Vice-Speaker of the National Assembly and President of the Korean-Australian Parliamentarians Friendship Association, the Hon. Kim Eun-Ha. The visit represented the breaking of new ground in that it was the first time a delegation from a parliamentary friendship group of the Commonwealth Parliament had visited another country at the invitation of its counterpart. I certainly commend to honourable members that, should they have the opportunity, they visit the Republic of Korea. The achievements of that country in the last 20 years are nothing short of remarkable.

A most notable point about the Republic of Korea is its economic growth and technological development, which have been achieved in a relatively short time. Our trade relations with it are substantial and are still expanding. As such, we should maintain a close interest in its general strategic situation because it is also likely to become increasingly significant as a regional power. Our visit to the Republic of Korea was very warmly received and we as a delegation were most impressed with what we saw and learnt. The National Assembly, the Korean- Australian Parliamentarians Friendship Association and all concerned with the visit deserve the highest praise for their efforts.

In presenting this report, I wish to place on record the Delegation's absolute abhorrence at the flagrant disregard for human life shown by the Soviet authorities when shooting down a Korean Air Lines civilian aircraft on 1 September this year. Also, on behalf of the Delegation, I wish to extend our sympathy to the families of the victims of the bombing which occurred during the official visit to Rangoon of the President of the Republic of Korea. Members of the Delegation had previously met with some of those killed in the bombing, which served only to heighten our sense of shock when we learned of the tragedy. The appropriate messages were sent from our group to the Korean people.