New Zealand congratulates Korean PresidentForeign Affairs and Trade
“The Government congratulates President-elect Roh Moo-hyun on his victory in Thursday’s presidential elections in the Republic of Korea”, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.
“I look forward to working with Mr Roh’s administration to advance our relations to the benefit of both countries. I was pleased to meet a number of senior members of Mr Roh’s party when I visited Seoul recently.
“The Republic of Korea is a close friend of New Zealand. Korea is our fifth largest trading partner, third largest source of overseas students and fifth largest source of tourists. There is also a sizeable Korean community living in New Zealand and contributing to our economy and society.
“New Zealand and the Republic of Korea share concerns about North Korea’s nuclear programme. New Zealand deeply regretted and opposed North Korea’s decision to reopen nuclear facilities capable of producing nuclear weapons material.
“North Korea announced that it will resume operation of nuclear facilities frozen under a 1994 Agreement with the United States.
“This is a setback to efforts to resolve nuclear issues on the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner. We have called upon North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme and fulfill its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“We want to see an early resolution to that problem and would work with Mr Roh and other countries to try to achieve that.
“Mr Roh will be formally inaugurated as President on 25 February 2003. We look forward to working with him and his team when they take office”, Mr Goff said.