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NZ welcomes postive trends in North Korea

NZ welcomes postive trends in North Korea

New Zealand welcomed recent moves by North Korea to improve its relations with the outside world which were noted during a recent visit by the New Zealand Ambassador, Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said today.

David Taylor has completed a four-day visit to the country during which he presented credentials to North Korean President Kim Yong-Nam and held talks with officials in Pyongyang.

“The talks were conducted in a friendly atmosphere and there continue to be promising signs of change. However momentum must be maintained, particularly given the stop-start nature of North Korea’s relations with the rest of the world in recent years.

“We told North Korea that we supported its recent moves to strengthen relations with South Korea, Japan and the United States. We encouraged Pyongyang to continue these efforts, and have offered to assist where we can.

“New Zealand stressed the importance of arms control measures, and we encouraged North Korea’s efforts to improve security on the Korean peninsula. We promoted the value of confidence-building measures, especially with South Korea and the United Nations Command.

“Mr Taylor discussed the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO) project, which helps North Korea to cease its nuclear weapons development programme in return for two new power stations.

“We stressed the importance of North Korea agreeing to an inspection process by the International Atomic Energy Organisation (IAEA) as soon as possible, as this will help avoid further delays in the project,” Mr Goff said.

New Zealand has been a financial supporter of KEDO since 1995. This year’s annual contribution of NZ$500,000, made shortly before the Pyongyang visit, brought our total funding for the organisation to NZ$4,500,000.

“We hope that recent economic adjustments will improve the welfare of the North Korean people. We will be following these developments closely. Until the North adopts a more market economy, trade is likely to continue to be limited,” Mr Goff said

New Zealand has provided humanitarian and development assistance to North Korea in recent years. Our assistance since 1995 totals NZ$1.4 million.

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