‘Aggressive rhetoric’ – Peters responds to North Korea’s NZ callout

By 1news.co.nz and is republished with permission

Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has taken a shot at North Korea after the authoritarian regime issued a warning to New Zealand and other countries about their surveillance of the Asia-Pacific region.

Winston Peters visited North Korea in 2007 to meet his counterpart Pak Vi Chun. (Source: 1News)

In a statement issued by KNCA, North Korea’s state-run news agency, the country’s foreign ministry called out the US and its allies for “irresponsible” surveillance of the region.

The statement explicitly mentioned New Zealand, alongside the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, and France. It claimed they were “encroaching upon the security interests of regional countries and escalating the military tension in the region” by dispatching warships and warplanes.

It closed with a threat, saying: “The DPRK will take necessary measures to firmly defend the sovereignty and security of the state”.

This morning, Peters shot back through a statement of his own, saying: “North Korea would better serve its people by meaningfully re-engaging with the international community through diplomacy rather than threats.

“New Zealand proudly stands with the international community in upholding the rules-based order through its monitoring and surveillance deployments, which it has been regularly doing alongside partners since 2018.

“North Korea, through its aggressive rhetoric and its supply of military-related technologies to Russia in support of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, once again threatens peace and stability in our region.”

Revisit the former Foreign Minister’s trip to the isolated nation in an attempt to help denuclearise the Korean Peninsula.

He travelled to the capital Pyongyang in 2007 while Foreign Minister under the Helen Clark-led Labour Government and met his counterpart Pak Ui Chun as part of an effort to denuclearise the country.

In his statement this morning, Peters spoke about the 2007 visit, delivering another punch.

“The window existed then for a diplomatic solution that had the potential to see North Korea abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes,” he said.

“If it had taken that sensible step, then North Korea and its citizens would today be a more secure and prosperous nation.”

“Instead, North Korea continues to defy UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions. The UNSC sanctions regime is a key element of the global effort to peacefully apply pressure on North Korea to denuclearise and abandon its ballistic missile programme.

He said it was “never too late” for diplomacy to “achieve what Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes never will”.

“Namely the reintegration of North Korea into the peaceful community of nations.

“Only then will its people have the full opportunity for the security and prosperity that a stable and peaceful region can offer.”

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