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Developments In North Korean Relations Welcomed

Goff Welcomes Developments In Relations With North Korea

Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today that a delegation of New Zealand officials is to visit North Korea to discuss the development of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and North Korea.

“New Zealand has welcomed the positive developments on the Korean peninsula following the historic summit between President Kim Dae-Jung of South Korea and the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. The international community needs to encourage this process," Mr Goff said.

"We continue to have major concerns in relation to North Korea, including its stance on missile development and human rights. However, along with most of the international community we believe that we can achieve more by engagement than by isolating North Korea.

“A small delegation led by Tony Browne, the Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's North Asia Division, will visit Pyongyang between 19 and 23 September.

"This will be the first ever official visit from New Zealand to North Korea.

“At my meeting with the North Korean Foreign Minister, Paek Nam-sun, in Bangkok in July we agreed that the inter-Korea summit had created the opportunity for New Zealand to consider establishing relations with North Korea.

“The establishment of diplomatic relations would facilitate dialogue on issues important to both New Zealand and North Korea.

“Among the issues I have asked the delegation to raise with the North Koreans are regional security, inter-Korean relations, human rights and weapons of mass destruction which concern New Zealand, and the wider international community.

"The delegation also plans to discuss international efforts to help North Korea deal with its economic problems and will meet with United Nations and World Food Programme representatives in Pyongyang," Mr Goff said.

[Ends]


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