Asia – NZ holds Track II Dialogue with Asan Institute
Republic of Korea (South)
A track II delegation from the Asia New Zealand Foundation visited Seoul from 5-7 December for their fifth annual dialogue with the Asan Institute. The delegation was led by Asia New Zealand’s Deputy Chair (and former Secretary of Foreign Affairs) Simon Murdoch and included Simon Draper (Executive Director, Asia NZ), Professor Robert Patman (Otago University), Dr Mark Rolls (Waikato University), Dr James To (Senior Research Adviser, Asia NZ) and Francis Hwang (member of the Leadership Network).
The track II dialogue covered a range of issues of interest to both the ROK and New Zealand, including: developments in the bilateral relationship; the situation on the Korean Peninsula; and the state of regional security and economic architecture.
For Executive Director Draper, the trip was especially memorable as it was the first time he had visited to Korea since his posting here at the New Zealand Embassy in the 1990s. He said after the trip: “Although Seoul has changed considerably since that time, I experienced a sense of deja-vu about some of the issues dominating the news media”, particularly the focus on North Korea, the deployment of missile defence systems and the push to reform the chaebol (large conglomerates).
While in Seoul, the delegation also called on other key think tanks and organisations, including the Korean Institute for National Unification (KINU), the Institute for Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS), and the East Asia Institute.