Today I announce the appointment of Ms Catherine Raper as Australia’s first female Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (ROK).
Australia is a long-standing friend of the ROK and next year we will celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations. Our warm relationship is underpinned by shared values, a common strategic outlook, complementary economies and close people-to-people links. The ROK is our fourth-largest trading partner and third largest export market.
In these times of global hardship and uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that likeminded countries like Australia and the ROK continue to cooperate closely in pursuit of our shared interest in an open and prosperous Indo-Pacific firmly anchored in the rules-based international order. To that end, we welcome deeper engagement with the ROK, including through cooperation between our Indo-Pacific strategy and the ROK’s New Southern Policy.
Australia supports the ROK’s efforts to engage the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on strategic peace and security. We welcome ongoing dialogue, while remaining committed to working with our partners until North Korea takes concrete steps towards complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation.
Ms Raper is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and most recently headed the COVID-19 Coordination Unit. Prior to that she was First Assistant Secretary, Europe and Latin America Division. She has previously served overseas as Head of Post in Taipei, and earlier in Washington, The Hague and at the Australian Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organization, Geneva.
I thank outgoing Ambassador James Choi for his contributions to advancing Australia’s interests in Korea since 2016.