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NZ to Discuss North Korean nuclear weapons at APEC

New Zealand to discuss North Korean nuclear weapons programme at APEC

The APEC Ministerial meeting will provide New Zealand with the opportunity to discuss in bilateral meetings the region’s response to North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme, says Foreign Minister Phil Goff.

“New Zealand is seriously concerned at last week’s admission by North Korea that it has been developing a programme to enrich uranium for the production of nuclear weapons.

“This contradicts previous denials by North Korea that it has been engaged in this process and is contrary to the agreements it has entered into.

“North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons poses a serious risk to regional security and to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

“New Zealand is unequivocally committed to the non-proliferation and elimination of nuclear weapons.

“North Korea made undertakings to us and to the international community ‘not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons.’ This in turn led New Zealand and other countries to commit to assistance to North Korea through the Korean Energy Development Organisation (KEDO) to help it develop an energy programme which did not involve the potential for producing highly enriched uranium.

“New Zealand has contributed $4.5 million dollars in support of KEDO and the US over a billion dollars.

“Under KEDO, North Korea accepted the obligation to freeze and dismantle its nuclear programme and accept inspections of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Those commitments must now be honoured by North Korea.

“This is a matter which, if necessary, can be taken to the United Nations Security Council for resolution. However I will raising in bilateral discussions at APEC with key players on this issue such as the Republic of Korea, Japan and the United States the steps that need to be taken to persuade North Korea to come into compliance with the agreements it has entered into,” Mr Goff said.

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