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NZ Encourages North Korean Weapons Program

NZ Encourages North Korean Weapons Program

The admission by North Korea that it has nuclear weapons is a very dangerous development that directly affects the Pacific region, ACT Leader Richard Prebble said today.

"It is further proof of the disastrous nature of New Zealand's foreign policy. I publicly warned the Labour Government in 2002 not to continue with multi-million dollar aid and diplomatic recognition for North Korea until that nation was willing to give proof it was not developing nuclear weapons. Today's admission by North Korea illustrates how reckless and incompetent the New Zealand Labour Government's foreign policy has been.

"There has been absolutely no foreign policy advantage to New Zealand in recognising North Korea - and our appeasement policy has no doubt encouraged their adventurism. At the very time the Labour Government provided diplomatic accreditation to North Korea, the Koreans were clearly developing nuclear weapons in complete contradiction of their Treaty obligations under the non-nuclear proliferation treaty.

"Helen Clark thought that she was emulating the Kirk Labour Government's recognition of Communist China. This was an inaccurate comparison. China is a great power and a very important economic trading power. In contrast, after the fall of Saddam Hussein, North Korea is now the world's sole remaining Stalinist state. It has an army of two million for a population of just 22 million - and that population is starving.

"ACT New Zealand strongly opposed Labour's multi-million dollar aid package to North Korea as reckless unilateralism. Our Prime Minister likes to say that her foreign policy is based on `multilateralism and the rule of law' - yet on North Korea, Labour has unilaterally provided recognition and aid, breaking with our traditional allies who have insisted that North Korea honour its obligations under the nuclear weapon non-proliferation treaty.

"The only rationality for North Korea's actions is its desire for recognition. At best one can say that Labour's foreign policy initiatives on North Korea have not discouraged that country from nuclear adventurism, and at worst New Zealand may well have contributed to North Korea's belief that admitting it has nuclear weapons will encourage countries like ours to give it more aid and recognition," Mr Prebble said.

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