Message from the Ambassador

25 May 2017

Kia ora tatou.

Earlier this month, Prime Minster Bill English extended his congratulations to the 19th President  of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-in, following his inauguration on 10 May 2017.   As long-standing like-minded partners in the Asia-Pacific our two countries have many common interests.  We look forward to working closely with the new administration.

Over the recent few months, the Embassy  has been engaged across a range of fields :  from supporting the film sector to promoting goods trade, as well as science and climate change cooperation, to defence, cultural exchange and education.  

On 25 April, the second Korea-New Zealand FTA Joint Commission Meeting was held in Seoul aimed at strengthening implementation of the Agreement, which came into force in December 2015. The FTA delivered strong results in its first full year since entry into force. Two way goods and services trade increased 8% to NZ$4.35 billion in 2016. As more rounds of tariff cuts are scheduled for the coming years, businesses and consumers in both countries will benefit more from the trade deal.

This year’s Anzac Day commemoration in Seoul on 25 April was attended by New Zealand Korean War veterans, David Mannering and Ian Blissett, and their partners.  They also took part in Commonwealth Korean War commemorations in Gapyeong and Busan. Their visit was a great way to acknowledge and mark the sacrifices made by ANZACs throughout the decades – including the men and women serving in our armed forces today.

Korea now has a new member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. I had the honour and privilege to present to Chairman Kim Jae-chul of Dongwon Group the insignia of appointment as an Honorary Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, at an investiture ceremony held at the New Zealand Residence on 16 May. Chairman Kim has been New Zealand’s honorary consul in Busan since 2010 and a great advocate for New Zealand-Korea trade and business relations. Congratulations and thank you for your support to the New Zealand community, Chairman Kim. 

Our education links with Korea are flourishing.  Korea and New Zealand have recently signed a ‘Joint Recognition Statement on the Comparison of Senior Secondary Qualifications’, supporting student mobility between Korea and New Zealand.  Over recent months, Korean student visa numbers have grown solidly, and we look forward to that continuing.    Korea is New Zealand’s fourth largest source of international students. 

It was a great pleasure to mark the start of summer here in Seoul at the New Zealand Wine Festival last weekend, arranged by the Kiwi Chamber – with a repeat to come in Busan early in June. 

As the temperatures start to warm up in Korea, I wish you all well for the summer.

Mihi nui.

Ambassador Clare Fearnley

1 November 2016

New Zealand is an open and connected country that takes its reputation for fairness and constructive engagement seriously - and contributes actively to try to resolve problems.  We are currently a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) through to the end of 2017 - and, for the month of September, New Zealand chaired the Council.

This coincided with a busy time for the UNSC as Leaders, including Prime Minister John Key and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, travelled to New York for the UN General Assembly opening sessions.

Under New Zealand’s September presidency, the UNSC addressed issues such as the conflict in Syria, the interests of Small Island Developing States, the safety of international air travellers, and the importance of the comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty regime.  Some of the issues on the UNSC agenda seem almost intractable, but stepping aside from efforts to address them is not an option.

The September presidency also meant we were in the midst of the Council’s response to North Korea’s fifth nuclear test.   And tensions on the Korean Peninsula also featured on the agenda of the East Asia Summit (EAS), held in Laos in the same month, which Prime Minister Key and President Park also attended, together with other Asia-Pacific leaders.

Last month, the successor to the current UN Secretary General, ROK’s Ban Ki-moon, was identified.  Helen Clark, former New Zealand Prime Minister and current United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), made a committed bid for the Secretary General role, but joined with Prime Minister Key and others in congratulating Portugal’s Antonio Guterres who succeeded in being confirmed as the next UNSG.  He’ll take up the office in January 2017.

New Zealand’s work on the UNSC is an indication of the diverse range of global interests that New Zealand engages on, well beyond our immediate region.    New Zealand works hard to ensure that our voice is heard and that we are part of the solution to global challenges.   

One way or another, we’re all connected.   We often find ourselves engaging closely with Korea on international and regional issues, with shared commitments to democratic values, peace and stability, and regional economic integration.  We’re natural partners.

Ambassador Clare Fearnley