Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd will travel today to South Korea to meet Korean leaders, visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and attend the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan.
"Australia and the Republic of Korea are natural partners, sharing common views on key global challenges and working together as democratic middle powers on a rules-based economic and security order, particularly through the G20, APEC and the East Asia Summit," Mr Rudd said.
"We in Australia have a clear strategic interest in working with the Government in Seoul on North Korea's threat to the peace of our region, and during my visit to Korea I will be talking to leaders and military commanders and visiting the DMZ.
"North Korea's nuclear and missile programs present a real and present threat to the region and, potentially, to Australia."
The Minister will also travel to Busan for the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) which brings together leaders, foreign ministers, aid organisations and representatives of civil society and the private sector from across the globe.
It is the pre-eminent global gathering on aid effectiveness and for the first time will be attended by major countries like China, Brazil and India as aid donors, rather than recipients.
These emerging economies, as well as the more traditional donors, will be asked to agree to action to make their aid more effective and more transparent.
HLF-4 will also focus on strengthening aid to fragile and conflict-affected states — helping countries recovering from war and instability to rebuild institutions, and provide security and opportunities for their citizens.
"It is important that aid to fragile states is focused and coordinated, but the HLF-4 must also highlight the importance of fragile countries taking ownership of their own development," Mr Rudd said.
"We also will promote a focus on Asia and the Pacific, where important challenges to meeting the Millennium Development Goals remain."
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