New Zealand to continue support for Korean anti-nuclear initiative

  • Don McKinnon
Foreign Affairs and Trade

"New Zealand has pledged an additional $1.5 million to stop the spread of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula," Foreign Affairs Minister Don McKinnon announced today.

"The money is to assist the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO). KEDO was founded by Japan, US and South Korea and aims to close down North Korean reactors that can produce nuclear weapons material."

KEDO is constructing new model light-water reactors which do not pose a nuclear proliferation risk. New Zealand's funding helps provide an interim supply of oil to North Korea until the new reactors are completed.

"New Zealand has already provided $2.5 million since 1995 and the new funds show our continuing support for KEDO's work."

"KEDO is a major plank in moves to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and can also play an important role in improving relations between North and South Korea."

On the possible launch of a second long-range rocket by North Korea, the Minister said "a second launch would be enormously counter-productive at a time when key players are offering the hand of engagement to the North, and providing quantities of humanitarian aid."

"This issue was very much on the minds of countries at the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting in Singapore which I attended last week."

"I hope that North Korea will exercise restraint and respond positively to the opportunities for dialogue now on the table."

Contact: Jo Coughlan, Press Secretary 04 471 9811, 025 405 082, 04 4733823