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NZ reiterates disarmament message to North Korea


New Zealand reiterates disarmament message to North Korea

New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff has written again to his North Korean counterpart Paek Nam-sun, calling on North Korea to accept its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and renounce development of nuclear weapons. He has also written to the Foreign Ministers of China and Russia urging them to use their influence to bring North Korea into compliance with the NPT.

“North Korea’s most recent actions in expelling International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitors and withdrawing from the NPT can only further isolate it from the international community and damage its chances of donor support desperately needed to rebuild its economy.

“The NPT is a cornerstone of global efforts to promote disarmament and non-proliferation. By withdrawing from it, North Korea disregards its commitment to 187 countries, including New Zealand, which are parties to the NPT.

“The move by North Korea contradicts its efforts to develop closer relationships with other countries such as New Zealand which have opened diplomatic relations with it over the last two years.

“Development by North Korea of nuclear weapons will undermine security and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the region. It is unacceptable to South Korea and Japan, the two countries which could most assist the economic development of North Korea. It is opposed also by its closest neighbours and friends, China and Russia.

“New Zealand is currently a member of the Board of Governors of the IAEA, the body which under the NPT has responsibility for monitoring the compliance of countries with their nuclear obligations. We strongly support the IAEA’s efforts to ensure North Korea’s compliance with its obligations.

“North Korea claims its actions are the result of fear of attack by the United States. The United States however has indicated it has no intention of taking military action against North Korea.

"I welcome US statements that it is willing to talk with North Korea and urge North Korea to respond positively to this offer. However proliferation of nuclear weapons involves the whole international community. It is important that all countries make clear to North Korea that nuclear weapons are not an acceptable option and can only have a negative effect on its development.

"In particular I hope that China and Russia use their influence to bring a positive change in North Korea's approach. I have reinforced the views I have expressed personally to Ministers Tang and Ivanov by writing to them urging their intervention to achieve this end.

“It would be best if this issue could be resolved directly and without requiring resort to the UN Security Council and the imposition of sanctions,” Mr Goff said.

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