28 January 2021
UWA-based international relations think tank, the Perth USAsia Centre, has won an Australia-Korea Foundation grant through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), to pursue and strengthen deeper Australia-South Korea economic, security and diplomatic relations.
The funding comes after the Centre’s focus on South Korea’s role in the region over many years, including the launch of an edited volume in December 2020 entitled Embracing the Indo-Pacific? South Korea’s Progress Towards a Regional Strategy.
Chief Executive Officer Professor Gordon Flake said it is wonderful that Perth USAsia Centre’s work to strengthen ties with South Korea can continue through this grant, enabling us to involve more influencers and stakeholders in the conversation through workshop sessions, as well as to produce and publish an outcomes report to formulate recommendations for the future.
“Over recent years, Australia and Korea has seen $1 billion bilateral capital flows between the two countries, and both rank the other within their top ten investment partners. With the disintegration of trade relations between Australia and China, now is the time to diversify our trade to secure future prosperity,” Professor Flake said.
The Australia-Korea Foundation was established by the Australian Government in 1992, designed to promote bilateral relations between them, with annual grant funding available for individuals or organisations undertaking activities which advances Australia’s engagement with Korea.
Perth USAsia Centre’s project Peers not Partners: Towards a Deeper Korea-Australia Partnership
will bring together 14 experts into a working group. The group will attend virtual workshop sessions, working toward developing a path for strategic cooperation between the two countries. The Perth USAsia Centre will partner with the Seoul-based Asan Institute for Policy Studies to host the workshops.
“We hope through these workshops, we will foster stronger connections between experts who specialise in Korea, and this will create future benefits for the bilateral between the two countries moving forward,” Professor Flake said.
Senior Analyst Kyle Springer said South Korea’s increased engagement in Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia is good news for Australia, and that this project will help identify how Australia and South Korean partnerships can strengthen the region post COVID-19.
The workshops are expected to be held in May, with the outcomes report available to the public by June 2021.
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