Ambassador to the Republic of Korea

Media release

15 March 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Mr Bill Paterson PSM as Australia's next Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (ROK) with non-resident accreditation to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Mongolia.

Mr Paterson is expected to take up his appointment in April 2013 replacing Mr Sam Gerovich.

Mr Paterson is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was until recently Australian Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism. Mr Paterson has previously served as Ambassador to Thailand, Minister at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo, Counsellor at the Australian Embassy in Washington and in earlier postings to Vienna, Baghdad and Dhaka.

Mr Paterson is currently the Department's First Assistant Secretary, International Security Division. He was Chief of Staff to Foreign Minister Alexander Downer in 2000.

Mr Paterson holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Melbourne and has worked extensively on strategic and security policy in Australia and overseas. He is married and has three adult children.

The Asian Century White paper recognises that Australia and the ROK are natural partners. The ROK is Australia's third-largest export market, with an emphasis on coal, ores and crude petroleum. Negotiation of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement is a high priority.

Australia maintains diplomatic relations with the DPRK, though the relationship is constrained by the DPRK's nuclear weapons and missile programs. Australia is deeply concerned by human rights violations in the DPRK. Australia provides some humanitarian assistance through UN and other international agencies.

Australia's relations with Mongolia centre on investment, mainly in mining, and development assistance. Principal exports to Mongolia including engineering and scientific equipment. Principal imports include vegetables, floor coverings and building supplies.

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