Prime Minister Howard Proposes ROK-Australia Free Trade Agreement
Visiting Australian Prime Minister John Howard yesterday proposed the establishment of a free trade agreement between Korea and Australia.
Howard made the proposal during a summit with President Kim Dae-jung who accepted it on the spot.
Kim said he would instruct his deputies to initiate consultations with their Australian counterparts.
At the Chong Wa Dae summit, Howard told Kim Canberra's recent resumption of diplomatic ties with North Korea was made in line with Seoul's policy of engaging with North Korea.
The prime minister promised Australia would continue to support the sunshine policy, hoping for the success of the upcoming summit between President Kim and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang, presidential spokesman Park Joon-young said at a post-summit briefing.
Kim explained in detail to Howard the meaning and importance of the Pyongyang summit, the spokesman said.
``The two leaders noted with satisfaction the recent rise in investment in each other's country. President Kim said he hoped for Australia's continued support to ensure that many Australian companies would increase investment in Korea,'' the spokesman said.
Kim and Howard also agreed to make joint efforts to ensure an early conclusion of the new round of the World Trade Organization.
The two leaders reaffirmed they would make efforts to strengthen cooperative partnership.
They also exchanged views on issues of mutual concern with special reference to regional security matters, Park said. …