The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

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Media Release

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
19 March 2001

Diplomatic appointment: Ambassador to the Republic of Korea

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Colin Stuart Heseltine as Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Korea.

Mr Heseltine will replace Mr Tony Hely who has been Ambassador since April 1998. He is expected to take up his appointment in July 2001.

Australia enjoys a close and diverse relationship with the Republic of Korea. The links were forged in the crisis of the Korean War and have grown and broadened in the following decades. The two economies are complementary and commercial relations are flourishing. South Korea is Australia's third-largest export destination and fourth-largest merchandise trading partner. The relationship is also marked by strong cooperation in regional affairs - as active founding members of APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum. Australia has given strong support to efforts to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula and particularly welcomes the dialogue between the Republic of Korea and its northern neighbour, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The Republic of Korea has also participated alongside Australia in the Peace Keeping Operation of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET PKO).

Mr Heseltine is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently First Assistant Secretary, North Asia Division. He has had extensive experience in North Asia, having served on two occasions as Minister and Deputy Head of Mission in the Australian Embassy in Beijing (1982-85 and 1988-92). He was also Australia's unofficial representative in Taiwan from 1992 to 1997 when he headed the Australian Commerce and Industry Office in Taipei.

Mr Heseltine's other overseas assignments have been as Third and Second Secretary in Santiago (1970-73) and First Secretary in Madrid (1975-78). Mr Heseltine was also Assistant Secretary, Maritime and South East Asia Branch (1997-98), and was seconded to the Victorian State Government as Director, China Investment Project, Department of Industry and Technology (1985-87).

Educated at Monash University, Mr Heseltine holds a Bachelor of Economics degree with honours. He was born in Melbourne in 1947 and is married with two children.

Media inquiries: Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 62777 500/
Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 2534/


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