Last week, South Korea and Australia struck a tentative free trade agreement after resuming trade talks that had been frozen for more than three years. In an email interview, Jeffrey Robertson, a visiting professor at the Korea Development Institute School of Public Policy and Management, explained the state South Korea-Australia bilateral ties.
WPR: What has been the recent trajectory of South Korea-Australia ties?
Jeffrey Robertson: Until recently, there were four features common to every Australia-South Korea diplomatic function. First, the Australian side would reiterate that the relationship has a historical basis, beginning with visits of Australian missionaries to Busan during the 19th century. Second, the South Korean side would reiterate thanks for the Australian commitment to the defense of South Korea and the shared sacrifices made in the Korean War. Third, both sides would remark upon the importance of the bilateral economic relationship, which sees Australian raw materials transformed into South Korean manufactured goods. Finally, both sides would note their commitment to a liberal-democratic, rules-based global order, and the role of the United States in the Asia-Pacific.