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Is Mr Downer throwing in the towel on North Korea?



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KEVIN RUDD M.P.

MEDIA RELEASE

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs '

IS MR DOWNER THROWING IN THE TOWEL ON NORTH KOREA?

Statements on the BBC overnight by Foreign Minister Downer indicate that he has thrown in the towel on the massive diplomatic challenge represented by North Korean nuclear brinksmanship.

Mr Downer stated overnight from Washington that the diplomatic processes on North Korea were simply moving too slowly.

If Mr Downer is indicating that current diplomacy on North Korea is not working, he has a responsibility to outline to the Australian people a new diplomatic strategy that is capable of yielding results.

This strategy should include:

• Mr Downer personally travelling to North Korea as one of the few western Foreign Ministers with full diplomatic relations with Pyongyang;

• Mr Downer convening an emergency APEC Foreign Ministers’ meeting to determine a common regional strategy on North Korea;

• Mr Downer having North Korea listed on the UN Security Council in order cause Russia and China to engage fully on the matter; and

• Mr Downer persuading the United States to engage in an appropriate direct dialogue with the North Koreans on their future security.

Like Mr Howard, Mr Downer is spending all his time on Iraq.

Neither Mr Howard nor Mr Downer are spending any real time on North Korea - which poses fundamental challenge to Australia’s national security here in our own region, our own neighbourhood and our own backyard.

Ends 1 April 2003

Further information: Kevin Rudd 0418 796 931 or Alister Jordan 0417 605 823