John Key in Korea

The Prime Minister, John Key, is in Seoul at the moment for two reasons.

One reason is to remember the New Zealand soldiers who were killed during the Korean War. This week it is 60 years since the cease-fire agreement between North and South Korea. New Zealand sent more than 6,000 soldiers to fight against North Korea in the early 1950s. Forty-five of those soldiers were killed. About 30 New Zealand veterans of the war are in Seoul with John Key. They visited the graves of those who died during that war.

New Zealand continues to send a small number of soldiers to keep the peace between North and South Korea. They watch in the DMZ – the de-militarized zone.

South Korea is now our fifth largest trading partner but New Zealand would like a free trade agreement. South Korea is the fifteenth largest economy in the world and we hope we can increase our trade with this country. This is the second reason for John Key’s visit. At the same time, Mr Key is able to remind South Korea that New Zealand was a good friend 60 years ago.

The Korean ambassador to New Zealand spoke about our close friendship today. He said that 30,000 Koreans live in New Zealand, 10,000 Korean students and 50,000 Korean tourists come here every year. Recently PSY’s Gangnam Style and K-pop fan club have become very popular in New Zealand and have brought our countries closer.


• cease-fire – cease = stop; fire = fire guns; cease-fire means stop fighting. It is not peace.
• veteran – old soldier
• grave – place where dead people are buried
• DMZ – area which does not belong to North or South Korea. It is between the two countries
• K-pop – Korean popular music
• fan club – people who love their music


• Listen again and write down all the numbers you hear. Check the text to see if you were right.

• Can you say the ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd etc)? Note that 5th, 6th and 8th are quite hard for native speakers to say.

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