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NZ welcomes Korean summit outcome

NZ welcomes Korean summit outcome

"The success of the summit between the two Koreas sends a signal of hope that the 50 years of conflict and tension on the Korean peninsula can be overcome," Prime Minister Helen Clark said today.

Helen Clark was commenting on reports that South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il had concluded their historic summit in Pyongyang with agreement to promote contacts between the two sides.

"New Zealand has supported President Kim Dae-jung in his efforts to promote engagement with North Korea.

"That initiative has now borne fruit in the unprecedented scenes we've seen from Pyongyang.

"New Zealand hopes that both sides will seize the opportunity provided by the summit and keep the process of dialogue and cooperation moving forward," the Prime Minister said.

"The Korean border is one of the most dangerous places on earth. Building trust across it is good not just for Koreans, but for the international community as a whole.

"North-South cooperation is also vital to deal with the humanitarian crisis in North Korea.

"I am pleased to announce that New Zealand will continue to support international agencies working to overcome the serious food shortage in North Korea.

"The New Zealand government decided today to provide a further $225,000 to the World Food Programme, which will take our total humanitarian assistance to North Korea to date to over $1 million," the Prime Minister said.

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