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Inter-Korean summit meeting.

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Media contact: Malcolm Cole (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 Angus Mackenzie (Departmental) 02 6261 1555


FA 105 10 August 2007


I welcome the announcement on 8 August that South and North Korea are to hold a summit meeting in Pyongyang on 28-30 August.

The meeting between South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il should advance inter-Korean dialogue, and help to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula. President Roh will also be able to emphasise that full implementation of its six-party commitments will open the way for North Korea to take its place as a responsible member of the international community.

For our part, Australia remains ready to support North Korean progress in honouring its commitments through bilateral assistance and development of the bilateral relationship. These were points I made last week at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila to North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun. In our discussions I invited Foreign Minister Pak to lead or send a high-level delegation to Australia to discuss specific proposals for Australian assistance to North Korea in line with continuing progress.

Our dialogue on these important issues is being further advanced by Australia’s Beijing-based Ambassador to North Korea, Dr Geoff Raby, who is visiting Pyongyang this week to present his credentials. Ambassador Raby will be reiterating the need for North Korea to adhere to its six-party talks commitments and take further concrete steps towards nuclear disarmament. He will also urge North Korea to work constructively with the other six-party talks members, including with Japan on the abductions issue.