The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA2 - 10 January 2003

Australia to Send Senior Envoy to Pyongyang

I am sending a senior delegation to Pyongyang from 14 to 18 January.

Australia has a vital interest in finding a constructive, diplomatic solution to address the nuclear question. During the visit, the delegation will convey Australia's concerns to the North Korean government about its nuclear weapons program.

Mr Murray McLean, First Assistant Secretary, North Asia Division in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will lead the Australian delegation to Pyongyang. Mr John Carlson, Director General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office will be a member of the delegation.

The delegation will meet senior North Korean officials, and hear North Korean perspectives first hand. This will build on the exchanges I and my Department are having with the North Korean Embassy in Canberra, and our extensive discussions with key players in the Asia-Pacific region.

Australia is well placed to play a part in international efforts to convince North Korea to step back from its nuclear weapons ambitions. We have formal diplomatic relations, and a long history of providing humanitarian and technical assistance to North Korea.

Media inquiries: Andrew Park (Ministerial) +61 02 6277 7500 / Lyndall Sachs (Departmental) +61 02 6261 155