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Goff welcomes resumption of North Korea talks

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

25 February 2004

Goff welcomes resumption of North Korea talks

Foreign Minister Phil Goff today welcomed the resumption of Six Party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue in Beijing.

The original participants of the first Six Party talks, which took place in Beijing last August – the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and North Korea – are participating in the new round of talks.

“I am glad to see the talks resume, especially after the considerable delay in bringing all parties back to the negotiating table. I hope the talks will eventually lead to the complete and irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear programmes," Mr Goff said.

“There are no quick or easy solutions to long-standing peace and security issues on the Korean peninsula but the resumption of talks indicates that the key players want to resolve the matter peacefully.

“North Korea’s nuclear programmes have been of deep concern to New Zealand. We have said before that we would like to see North Korea meet its Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) responsibilities and resume cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as soon as possible. This remains an important objective.

“We will be following the talks closely. If North Korea demonstrates that it is committed to ending its nuclear programmes, the international community, including New Zealand, would be willing to assist North Korea deal with its pressing development problems,” Mr Goff said.

Earlier this month, New Zealand pledged $370,000 in humanitarian assistance to help the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) continue supplying emergency food aid to North Korea. Other countries assisting the WFP's work in North Korea include the US, Australia, the EU and South Korea.

ENDS

All Phil Goff’s media releases and speeches are posted at www.beehive.govt.nz


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