Yoon, Australian PM discuss expanding cooperation, security issues

SEOUL-- President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol spoke by phone with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday and agreed to expand bilateral cooperation while jointly overcoming challenges to peace and stability, Yoon's spokesperson said.

During the 25-minute call, Morrison congratulated Yoon on his election and the president-elect expressed his hope to develop practical cooperation across sectors as the two countries share the values of a liberal democracy and a market economy, the spokesperson, Kim Eun-hye, said in a written briefing.

Yoon also noted the "deep bond" South Koreans feel with Australia, which sent some 17,000 troops to fight alongside the South in the 1950-53 Korean War.

"President-elect Yoon and Prime Minister Morrison agreed to increase cooperation on carbon neutrality, space and other high-tech areas by further expanding the relationship that was upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations last year," Kim said.

"At the same time, they agreed to further strengthen cooperation on securing a stable supply chain of resources, including critical minerals."

The prime minister said he hopes by strengthening regional cooperation, they will be able to contribute to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Yoon responded by expressing his agreement with Morrison's remark that freedom and stability on the peninsula cannot be compromised.

The two also addressed the crisis in Ukraine and the growing concerns of the international community.

Yoon said he believes Morrison shares his firm conviction in a rules-based international order and that the two will be able to overcome any difficulty by working together.

The prime minister said he concurred and was pleased to hear such remarks.

Morrison also said he hopes to visit Seoul soon and continue in-depth discussions. Yoon replied that he looks forward to meeting him at an early date.

The call was Yoon's fourth with a foreign leader since his election last Wednesday. On Thursday, he spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden, followed by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday.

Source: Yonhap News Agency