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New Zealand's First Ambassador To North Korea

Goff Announces New Zealand's First Ambassador To North Korea


New Zealand’s first Ambassador to North Korea will be New Zealand Ambassador to South Korea Roy Ferguson, who will be cross-accredited from Seoul, Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Phil Goff announced today.

“We’re pleased the North Korean Government has accepted our proposed cross-accreditation from Seoul. Accrediting one ambassador to both Koreas is symbolic of New Zealand’s support for their goal of reunifying the Korean Peninsula.

“Regular accreditation visits to North Korea by our ambassador in Seoul will enable New Zealand to maintain a dialogue with Pyongyang on matters including our humanitarian assistance to North Korea and other key issues of concern to us such as regional security and human rights,” Mr Goff said.

New Zealand established diplomatic relations with North Korea at the end of March this year.

Since 1996 New Zealand has given $3.4m-worth of development assistance to North Korea. This includes:
 $2m to Korean Energy Development Organisation which provides oil in return for cessation of work on a nuclear plant capable of producing weapons-grade nuclear material
 $1.2m in disaster relief
 $200,000 contribution towards a UNICEF secondary education initiative

“Through more regular contact, we are keen to encourage Pyongyang to engage more with us and others and to see itself as part of a wider international community. Such further engagement should help contribute to the confidence-building needed to secure peace and stability on the Korean peninsula,” Mr Goff said.

In announcing the decision today, Mr Goff expressed his hope that the stalled inter Korean talks would soon resume and that the return visit by Chairman Kim Jong Il to the Republic of Korea, foreshadowed in the Joint Statement at the Summit in June 2000, would take place in the near future.

Neither North Korea or New Zealand has plans at this stage to establish diplomatic missions in either country. New Zealand has given agrément for the cross-accreditation to New Zealand of North Korea’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Kim Pyong Hong.

Ends


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