MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
28 September 1999
Australia Commits to De-nuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula
I am pleased to announce that Australia will contribute a further $A2 million to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO).
The Australian Government strongly values the contribution KEDO makes to maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula and in North Asia more generally. Australia has clear interests in the security of North Asia and in the reduction of tensions there. It was in recognition of this - and following North Korea's recent and most welcome move towards a moratorium on ballistic missile testing - that I met the Foreign Minister of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in New York on 27 September. It was the first such high level meeting since our formal relations were "interrupted" some 24 years ago.
In my meeting with Minister Paek I foreshadowed Australia's continuing support for KEDO, encouraged North Korea to cooperate further in reducing tensions in North Asia, and discussed the humanitarian situation in North Korea, an area where Australia has been helping with emergency food aid.
Australia's contribution to KEDO, for the provision of heavy fuel oil, will be funded through the Australian Government's overseas aid program. It will bring Australia's contributions to KEDO since 1995 to A$14.8 million.
KEDO supports international efforts to reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula. It was established under the October 1994 Agreed Framework between the United States and North Korea, under which North Korea agreed to freeze its existing nuclear program under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
In return, North Korea is receiving assistance in meeting its energy needs. KEDO is constructing two lightwater nuclear reactors (LWRs). Until they come on stream, it is providing 500,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil annually to be used by North Korea for electricity generation and heating.
KEDO is an international consortium led by the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan. It is a unique mechanism for practical cooperation between North Korea and the rest of the international community, including the ROK. It therefore plays an important confidence building role.
Minister - Innes Willox 02 6277 7500
Department - Mark Croxford 02 6261 1555
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