Shorten and the party's foreign affairs spokeswoman, Penny Wong, arrived in Seoul on Sunday for a three-day visit aimed at reassuring South Korea that Australia stands by the country as tensions with North Korea have escalated sharply in the wake of a series of provocations by Pyongyang, including its sixth nuclear test.
|Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (R) and Australia`s opposition Labor Party leader Bill Shorten shake hands during a meeting in Seoul on Sept. 25, 2017. (Yonhap)|
Tensions have risen further since last week as US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un traded bellicose rhetoric, with Trump warning he will "totally destroy" the North if necessary, and Kim striking back, saying he will consider taking the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history."
During Monday's meeting with Lee, Shorten expressed full-scale support for Seoul's efforts to bring peace to the peninsula, saying that stability and prosperity in Northeast Asia is also key to Australia's development and that Australia considers relations with the South very important, according to Lee's office.
Lee expressed gratitude to Shorten for making the trip to show bipartisan support for South Korea. He also expressed appreciation for Australia's active efforts to help resolve the North Korea nuclear issue, the office said.
Lee also expressed thanks that Australia dispatched about 17,000 troops, the second-largest contingent after the US, during the 1950-53 Korean War to help defend the South's freedom and democracy, the office said.
Lee expressed hope to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries. (Yonhap)