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Iraq not a good lesson for North Korea.

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Senator Andrew Bartlett Leader of the Australian Democrats Spokesperson for Defence

24th April 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/256

Iraq not a good lesson for North Korea

The Australian Democrats today rejected the Prime Minister’s suggestion that North Korea has learned a positive lesson from Iraq.

“The only thing Iraq showed is that the United States is now launching pre-emptive strikes, and that superior weaponry wins wars,” the Leader of the Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett said.

“Submitting to weapons inspections didn’t save Iraq from invasion - so where is the incentive for Pyongyang to invite weapons inspectors in?

“The attack on Iraq sent exactly the wrong message to North Korea,” Senator Bartlett said.

“Leader Kim Jong-Il knows nuclear weapons lifts the stakes, and the US will tread more carefully dealing with nuclear-armed nations.

“If the North Koreans didn’t already have nuclear weapons, then they would become more interested in acquiring them after the US President identified them as part of the axis of evil.”

Last year the Democrats welcomed the Prime Minister’s undertaking to take a diplomatic approach to North Korea, in the wake of comments by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about the US ‘fighting two major conflicts at once’.

“The Democrats hope the Howard Government will remain committed to a diplomatic solution with North Korea, but not the ‘diplomacy’ of troops at the border, we saw in Iraq.

“No one wants a nuclear armed Korea, but threats are not the best way to handle them.

“Diplomacy, engagement and assistance are still the best ways to deal with isolated rogue nations,” Senator Bartlett said.

To arrange interview with Senator Bartlett contact Katrina Beikoff 0419 867 649