Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivers speech at Yonsei
“Australia and South Korea are friends as well as partners”
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard gave a talk to students at Yonsei-Samsung Library International Conference Room at Yonsei University at 1 pm on March 26th. Prime Minister Gillard delivered the speech during her two-day visit in South Korea to attend the Nuclear Summit held March 26th to 27th. Some 300 students in classrooms at Colleges of Social Science and Engineering and also on Wongju Campus listened to the talk via video conference. Director of The Leadership Center Kim Yong-ho led the event.
Yonsei President Jeong Kap-Young said in a welcoming speech that “Yonsei University has been involved in various exchange programs with many Australian universities for more than 30 years. Furthermore, Yonsei is the only university with a research center focused on Australia.” Prime Minister Gillard began her talk by saying, “I am glad to meet students of Yonsei, Asia’s most historical and respectable university. The young students who studied in earnest here have been shaping Korea’s fate.”
The Prime Minister visited Korea last year in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of The Battle of Gapyeong to pay respect to the Australian and Korean soldiers who died fighting courageously at the battlefield. She emphasized that Australia and South Korea are “true friends” citing that an Australian missionary and a Korean shared religious beliefs in Busan 130 years ago.
She praised South Korea for leading the world’s digital economic sector. “South Korea has the most accessible internet archive system and manages a highly-developed Electronic Government. To my knowledge, electronic trading makes up 30% of commercial transactions and its volume is up to six times that of Australia’s. I would like to express respect for the level of success Korea has achieved. We are getting to learn more about Korea.”
She went on to express concern about the provocations by North Korea. “North Korea’s announcement of satellite missile drills is a violation of the UN envoy resolution. Other nations that have influence over North Korea should demand that North Korea abandon its satellite missile programs,” she said. “North Korea’s refusal to denuclearize remains the most critical security issue in Asia.” The Prime Minister described North Korea’s nuclear bombs as “dirty bombs” and voiced concern about proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Prime Minister Gillard highlighted relations between South Korea and Australia saying, “Among the 2 million Asians residing in Australia, 100,000 are Koreans.”
Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female Prime Minister, entered the political world in 1996 working for John Brumby, then Premier of Victoria, for two years. In 1998, she officially began her political career as member of the House of Representatives for the Australian Labor Party. From 2001-2003, she served as the minister for Population and Immigration for the shadow cabinet following the 2001 federal elections. Then, following the victory of the Labor Party in 2007, she served as Deputy Prime Minister as well as Minister of Education, Employment and Labor. She assumed office as the 27th Prime Minister of Australia defeating former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as federal leader of the party in June 2010.