Monday, May 05, 2008

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, going on three Asian city tour

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith is going to start his three Asian city tour from Monday. Mr. Smith will visit Tokyo, South Korea and Hong Kong. He said that while his visit in Japan, he will discuss the issue of hunting whales. Criticizing Australia’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, for not taking necessary steps to stop Japanese whalers, Mr. Smith said that Rudd will visit Japan twice this year and he will discuss the issue of whaling. AFP reports:

Smith said his visit to Japan underlined the importance of the economic, security and strategic partnership between the nations, and followed on his visit in January.

"North Asia is a very important region to us," he said.

"I wanted to go to Korea to make contact with the new administration, and it made sense to turn that visit into a regional visit with both Hong Kong and Japan."

The minister said talks in Tokyo would focus on the Two Plus Two Forum -- the annual gathering of Australian and Japanese foreign and defence ministers -- and the possibility of a trilateral meeting with the United States.

For years, Japan is continuing its whale hunting under the name of scientific research. After a whale is killed, scientists collect data from its remains. The meat of the whale is then packed and sold. Whale meat is very popular in Japan and a major source of protein for its people.Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the U.S.A has been opposing Japan’s activity.

Mr.Smith will visit Hong Kong and South Korea for expanding trading relation between the countries. He will meet with Hong Kong’s chief executive, Donald Tsang. In South Korea, Mr. Smith will meet President Lee Myung-Bak and Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan.

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