Open Letter to Prime Minister of NZ: visit of President Moon
22nd November 2018
Rt. Honourable Jacinda Adern
Dear Prime Minister,
Your announcement that President Moon is to visit New Zealand early December is a most welcome one.
That President Moon has chosen to come to New Zealand is of significance. It is also a plea for help.
Unlike most of his travel, it is of significance that he is not coming to our country for an international event. While he will be conscious of trade issues, his prime reason for visiting New Zealand will be to solicit support for the bold moves he is making in seeking a formal, internationally recognised, Korean peace regime and a nuclear free Peninsula.
Since your Coalition Government has come into office our Minister of Foreign Affairs has made statements encouraging talks between the two Koreas. The visit of President Moon gives New Zealand the opportunity to go beyond just words.
There are many actions that New Zealand could take to support and help President Moon in his mission of peace. We urge your Government to initiate such actions in order to achieve a just peace on the Korean peninsula
1. In seeking a nuclear free Korea, President Moon is moving into difficult territory. As a recognised global leader in disarmament advocacy, nuclear free Aotearoa is in a strong position to be able to help negotiate a pathway in this fraught arena.
2. New Zealand should encourage both Koreas to sign the United Nations treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.
3. On his recent trip to Europe President Moon energetically canvassed Prime Minister May and President Macron to support his call for the easing of sanctions to facilitate the peace process. It appears that he was unsuccessful but Britain and France are both nuclear weapons states. As a proudly nuclear free state New Zealand should surely take a different position and support President Moon on this matter. Movement on a reduction of sanctions is essential if there is to be progress in negotiations between the USA and the DPRK.
4. For reasons which are not clear, New Zealand has frozen diplomatic contact with the DPRK over the past four years. It would be in keeping with President Moon’s policy of active rapprochement and dialogue if New Zealand were to restore full diplomatic relations with DPRK at this time. Concurrent with the restoration of diplomatic relations, the NZ Defence Attaché based in Seoul should be accredited additionally to the DPRK.
5. As highlighted in his Berlin speech President Moon is aiming for “an economic community where the two Koreas prosper together”. It would not only be in the interests of peace but also in New Zealand’s trade interests to explore ways in which the creation of this economic community can be achieved.
6. Cooperation on infectious diseases and forestry were also flagged in the Berlin speech and officials from both countries are already engaged on talks on both of these. New Zealand expertise could be offered to help in these sectors.
7. A final point made by President Moon in Berlin was to call for a mutual halt to acts of hostility around the Military Demarcation Line. Action has already commenced on this front with the demolishing of guard posts and removal of land mines. Within the last few days the DPRK has stated that the United Nations Command (UNC) is an “obstacle” to inter-Korean cooperation. Currently cooperation between the two Koreas on railways has been blocked by the UNC. From a Pyongyang viewpoint, the UNC has always appeared to be a hostile operational unit of the United States armed forces and the United Nations as a tool for implementation of United States foreign policy. New Zealand could contribute to defusing this situation by withdrawing some, or preferably all, of the NZ Defence personnel assigned to the UNC.
8. The United Nations agencies are currently requesting US$111 million to improve the nutritional status of the most vulnerable North Korean people, reduce preventable mortality and build resilience amongst the most vulnerable. This is reportedly only 20% funded. New Zealand could make a contribution to this humanitarian effort.
In looking forward to positive outcomes from President Moon’s impending visit we offer these actions as examples of what New Zealand could do to help achieve a lasting peace for the Korean nation.
Minister of Foreign
Affairs & Trade. Winston Peters.
Chief Executive and Secretary, MFAT. Brook Barrington.
Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament. Dell Higgie
Lead Adviser, North Asia Division, MFAT. Shee-Jeong Park.