MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Senator the Hon. Bob Carr
NORTH/SOUTH KOREA TALKS: PROGRESS ON GAESONG INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX AND FAMILY REUNIONS
August 19, 2013
Foreign Minister Bob Carr today welcomed progress in diplomatic talks between North and South Korea, including North Korean guarantees on the Gaesong Industrial Complex and agreement for further talks on family reunions.
“The Australian Government welcomes these steps toward restoring diplomatic relations between North and South Korea,” Senator Carr said.
“I’m advised North Korea has guaranteed that it will keep open the Gaesong Industrial Complex, which closed earlier this year during a period of tension on the Peninsula.
“And I’m pleased that the North has now agreed to talks on restoring the family reunion process, which it has prevented since late-2010.
“We urge North and South Korea to continue their engagement in the interests of rebuilding trust and enhancing diplomatic ties.”
The Gaesong Industrial Complex is an industrial zone inside North Korea. The Complex is jointly-operated by North and South and employs over 50,000 North Korean workers. It was closed by North Korea in February 2013 following tensions arising from North Korean nuclear testing.
Senator Carr said Australia would maintain sanctions and diplomatic pressure on North Korea regarding its nuclear ambitions.
“We strongly support South Korean President Park’s call for North Korea to “change course” and abandon its nuclear weapons and missile programs,” Senator Carr said.