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Australia applauds rebuilding of Korean Peninsula transport links.



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Media releases and speeches are available from DFAT via the internet. http://www.dfat.gov.au/

MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER FA133 18 September 2002

AUSTRALIA APPLAUDS REBUILDING OF KOREAN PENINSULA TRANSPORT LINKS

I welcome today’s ground-breaking ceremony marking the start of construction work on road and rail links between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

This symbolic occasion is another important step towards cooperation and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula.

Rebuilding transport links across both the west and east ends of the Demilitarized Zone is an important confidence-building measure. I hope this and other recent positive developments in inter-Korean relations result in the timely implementation of further agreements including commitments made at the historic June 2000 Leaders’ summit between ROK President Kim Dae-jung and his DPRK counterpart Chairman Kim Jong Il.

Australia shares the international community’s concerns about the security situation on the Korean Peninsula. We have been a consistent supporter of President Kim Dae-jung's policies of economic and political engagement with the DPRK. Encouraging the DPRK to end its isolation and engage with the international community is vital in ensuring peace on the Peninsula and in the region generally.

In my meetings with DPRK representatives, I have urged the DPRK to reopen regular formal dialogue with the United States and address issues relating to weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.

I have also urged the DPRK to implement commitments made in the 1994 US-DPRK Agreed Framework and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and emphasised the importance of full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

To help the DPRK develop a better understanding of IAEA requirements, Australia is providing training in nuclear materials accounting.

Australia will continue to support cooperation and reconciliation between the two Koreas and international engagement with the DPRK in close consultation with our regional and international partners.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02-6277 7500/0419 206 890 Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02-6261 1555