WikiLeaks cable: Winston Peters condemns N Korea missile tests

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

This is one of the diplomatic cables about New Zealand held by Wikileaks.

July 6, 2006

Classified By: Pol-Econ Counselor Katherine Hadda, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) On July 5, Foreign Minister Peters issued a strongly-worded statement condemning North Korea's missile tests. David Taylor, Director of the North Asian Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) says that Peters rang the Ministry from his official travels in Hungary to express his concern about the tests and order the
statement be issued. Taylor said that when GNZ's Ambassador to North Korea, Jane Coombs, presented her credentials in Pyongyang two weeks ago, she bluntly told President Kim Yong Nam that N.Korea should step down from its plans to test the missiles and should return to the six-Party talks. He responded that it was his country's sovereign right to do tests and that many other countries do the same without complaints being made. GNZ believes Coombs was the last foreigner to speak with Kim before the tests.

2. (C) Taylor said that Coombs, who is based in Seoul, is now liaising closely with the South Korean government. Taylor, who visited Pyongyang 6 times during his own stint as Ambassador in Seoul, said that the N.Koreans are "like children" in their need to get attention but are usually good at calculating risk. In this case, however, GNZ is unclear
on what is motivating them, and are particularly nonplused that the N.Koreans did not even issue any warnings before the missiles were launched. GNZ is watching the UN discussions on the tests, and is ready to make statements as appropriate. Taylor said that NZ's mission in New York had provided a copy of Minister Peters' statement to Ambassador Bolton.

3. (U) The following text is drawn from Peters' statement; a complete text can be found at
"North Korea was advised clearly that missile testing would be seen as a provocative step. These tests fuel concern about North Korea's behavior, adding to ongoing worry about its nuclear programmes and dismay that it has not rejoined the Six Party talks.

"New Zealand's Ambassador conveyed our concerns in plain language when she met with President Kim Yong Nam recently.

"North Korea is paranoid about its security, but this action -- against the sound advice of its neighbors and the wider international community -- can only do further harm to its already tarnished reputation and may well lead to discussion in the United Nations Security Council.

"I very much hope North Korea will step back now from taking any more rash steps. Pyongyang should go back to the Six Party talks as that is the only vehicle that can provide step-by-step progress towards an improved security situation, the removal of its nuclear weapons programmes and unlock desperately needed development assistance funding."


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