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

Media Release

FA130 18 October 2005

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to the Republic of Korea

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Peter Rowe as Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Mr Rowe will replace Mr Colin Heseltine who has been Ambassador since August 2001. He is expected to take up his appointment in December 2005.

Australia enjoys a close and diverse relationship with the Republic of Korea. Links were forged during the Korean War and have grown and broadened in the following decades. The two economies are highly complementary and commercial relations are flourishing. South Korea is the world's 10th largest economy and has grown to become Australia's third-largest export destination and fourth-largest merchandise trading partner. The relationship is marked by strong cooperation in regional forums such as APEC, which Korea is hosting in 2005, and the ASEAN Regional Forum. Australia and Korea are foundation members of the new East Asia Summit, which meets for the first time in late 2005. People-to-people links are growing strongly, with more than 22,000 Korean student enrolments in Australia and well over 200,000 Koreans visiting Australia annually. Australia is committed to doing all it can to realise a nuclear weapons-free Korean peninsula and will continue to work closely with like-minded countries to support international efforts to bring about a peaceful and lasting resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue.

Mr Rowe is a senior staff member of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was until recently Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy, Jakarta, a position he held since 2003. Before this, in Canberra, Mr Rowe was Assistant Secretary, North East Asia Branch (2002-03), Assistant Secretary, East Asia Branch (2001-02), Director, China, Mongolia Section (1992-95), and Director, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan Section (1991-92). From 1986 to 1991, Mr Rowe worked in the Office of National Assessments where he held responsibility for China and Korea and subsequently acted as Head of the Asia Branch.

Overseas, Mr Rowe has served as High Commissioner to Sri Lanka (1999-2001),

Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy, Seoul (1995-98), Second Secretary, Australian Embassy, Seoul (1983-86), and Second Secretary, Beijing (1978-81). From 1981 to 1982 Mr Rowe worked on secondment to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wellington.

Mr Rowe was born in Sydney in 1950. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Sydney. He speaks Chinese and Korean.

Media inquiries : Ministerial 02 6277 7500, DFAT Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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