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S.Korean president’s visit very important: Dutton

The South Korean president’s visit to Australia underscores the vital relationship between the two countries and comes at a time of concerns surrounding China within the region, Defence Minister Peter Dutton says.

President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook will arrive in Canberra to start the official visit on Sunday night and have a busy schedule before departing on Wednesday.

“It’s a very important visit, it comes at the end of his term,” Mr Dutton told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.

“They see it as a vital relationship, as do we, and there is an enormous amount of upside on trading.”

He said South Korea was one of many important relationships in the region, including Japan and India.

“There is a lot of concern from many countries within the region in relation to some of the bullying from the Chinese government,” he said.

“We want peace and stability to prevail in our region and is why we have close relationships with people of shared values. It is very important and probably more so than ever.”

But he said the desire to have an excellent working relationship with China still remained paramount.

However, the Chinese ambassador has previously presented a document with 14 issues that he wants resolved before the relationship can be normalised.

“Essentially that’s a surrender of our free speech and democratic values and our sovereignty that we would never contemplate,” Mr Dutton said.

Mr Moon will also meet Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese during his visit, which Mr Dutton said was not unusual and was a sign of respect.

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