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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 2035

Senator O'BYRNE (TASMANIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. By way of preface I point out that 2 years ago the then Australian Government Mission to the United Nations supported a resolution deferring discussion of the unification of North and South Korea by the method of waiting for a report from the International Red Cross then in Korea. As information on the outcome of the exercise carried out by the International Red Cross does not seem to have been publicised, can the Minister give an indication of any progress in this very important matter of the reunification of Korea?

Senator WILLESEE - Reunification talks started about 12 months ago and they had badly bogged down prior to the United Nations General Assembly meeting. Two propositions were put forward. The North Koreans were asking that one body on the United Nations would represent one Korea. The South Koreans put up the proposal that both North Korea and South Korea should be made members of the United Nations. Australia supported the South Korean proposal because with the realities of the position that would have been the best outcome. An announcement was made yesterday that both sides will not pursue their claims, that they agree that the unification of the country should be achieved independently without reliance on outside force or interference; that unification should be achieved by peaceful means without recourse to the use of arms against the other side and that full national unity should be promoted. I think this is a welcome situation. There is a promise to resume the talks on reunification. So instead of a situation developing which could have resulted in a head-on confrontation, behind the scenes or in committee prior to the United Nations General Assembly vote, both North Korea and

South Korea agreed that further talks should take place, and they laid down these parameters.

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