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Hollow Words From Winston Peters

“North Korea would better serve its people by meaningfully re-engaging with the international community through diplomacy rather than threats” says Mr Peters.

His stated commitment to diplomacy is admirable – that’s what foreign ministers are supposed to do – but he does not mention that it is New Zealand, not North Korea, that has suspended diplomatic communication between our two countries.

North Korea was engaged with New Zealand from 2001 and regular two-way dialogue took place until 2015 when then foreign minister Murray McCully unilaterally froze diplomatic relations.

On the 28th of January 2016, North Korea forwarded a Diplomatic Note requesting a date for An Kwang Il, their new Ambassador Designate, to visit Wellington for presentation of his credentials.

There has never been a response to this request.

Minister Peters can demonstrate his commitment to diplomacy and strengthen New Zealand’s claim to an independent and peace-loving foreign policy by immediately reactivating diplomatic dialogue with North Korea. Perhaps in time, he could go to Pyongyang, replacing empty rhetoric with purposeful, peace-enhancing diplomacy.

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