4 Dec 2018

NZ has not provided aid to North Korea in 10 years - PM

4:47 pm on 4 December 2018

New Zealand has not sent any humanitarian aid to North Korea in a decade, because of other crises demanding attention, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

No caption

South Korean President Moon Jae-in with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Auckland this morning. Photo: RNZ / Sarah Robson

Ms Ardern met with her South Korean counterpart, President Moon Jae-in, in Auckland this morning.

The pair discussed a range of issues, including climate change, regional security, trade and the conflict over the Korean Peninsula.

Mr Moon is the first South Korean president to visit New Zealand in nine years.

Ms Ardern said trade between the two countries was flourishing, thanks to a bilateral free trade deal that came into force in December 2015.

They discussed the prospect of South Korea joining the 11-country CPTPP trade deal in the future, to strengthen its strategic and commercial links in the wider Pacific, she said.

The prime minister acknowledged Mr Moon's efforts to try to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula and establish dialogue with North Korea.

New Zealand had consistently urged North Korea to denuclearise, Ms Ardern said.

"For our part, we will continue to work with the international community towards peace on the Korean Peninsula by fully implementing United Nations Security Council resolutions."

Responding to a question from Korean media, Ms Ardern said New Zealand had not provided humanitarian aid to North Korea since 2008.

"That change has only been a reflection of the many competing demands for humanitarian aid, not the escalation of the nuclear issue," she said.

New Zealand had been called on to help with crises in Syria, Yemen, and with the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, Ms Ardern said.

Following today's meeting, New Zealand announced that South Korean visitors would get access to eGate passport processing at the border, from next year.

The two countries plan to create a Social Security Agreement, which will facilitate better access to pension entitlements for people who have spent time in each country.

Mr Moon played down the prospect of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visiting Seoul this year.

The two Korean leaders had previously agreed to a meeting in the south this month.

Mr Moon said there was a possibility it could still happen, but it was more important to make progress on denuclearisation and improving relations between the two Koreas.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs