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Goff Welcomes Progress In Inter-Korean Relations

29 April 2002

Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff, has welcomed news that North and South Korea will resume dialogue and cooperation on a range of key political and economic issues.

The breakthrough follows the successful 3-5 April visit to Pyongyang, North Korea, by South Korean Presidential Envoy Lim Dong-won. Mr Lim held extended discussions with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il during the visit.

The two sides agreed to resume economic cooperation talks and family reunion visits, and to explore cross-border development and transport projects.

“New Zealand has been a consistent and strong supporter of South Korea’s ‘sunshine policy’ of engagement with the North since its establishment. As a regional neighbour enjoying diplomatic relations with both Koreas we strongly encourage both sides to work together to pursue stability and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

“It is particularly encouraging that both Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il have worked personally to re-establish a working partnership. This is a strong endorsement at the highest level of the will of both sides to move the reconciliation process forward.”

“I also welcome indications of North Korea’s willingness to resume dialogue with the United States and Japan in the future,” Mr Goff said.

New Zealand established diplomatic relations with North Korea in March 2001. Since 1995 it has contributed NZ$1.4 million in humanitarian aid to development initiatives in the North.

New Zealand is also a member of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO), established in 1995 to construct light-water reactors as a source of non-nuclear energy in North Korea.

New Zealand has contributed a total of NZ$4 million to KEDO since 1995. It has urged North Korea to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure continued implementation of DPRK’s nuclear non-proliferation commitments.

Ends


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