6 Aug 2018

Winston Peters hopeful about North Korea after Singapore meetings

9:10 am on 6 August 2018

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters, has just returned from high-level meetings in Singapore where North Korea was top of the agenda.

Winston Peters

Winston Peters Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The talks were held almost two months after the United States President Donald Trump held a historic meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, also in Singapore.

Mr Peters met the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and also his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho.

Mr Peters said he thought there had been progress in regards to denuclearisation,

"I think it is our job to emphasise that we are all counting on this commitment to denuclearise".

Mr Peters was in North Korea more than a decade ago and said he thought the circumstances were different now and that China had made a big impression.

"All in all, there's every reason to shoot for the best outcome we can get."

He also raised the issue of New Zealand's need to trade steel and aluminium with the United States and Mr Pompeo was "acutely aware" and on the case, Mr Peters said.

Countries like New Zealand depended upon having a good economy to make their contribution in the Pacific and around the world, he said.

"We can only do so in that context if companies that have similar values to us, and believe in the rule of law like we do, are prepared to trade with us".

"I've left him with no doubts as to how much we depend upon a better or more quicker response on the issue of steel and aluminium, and other areas as well."

On Tim Groser's replacement as New Zealand ambassador to the United States, Mr Peters said it would definitely not be a former politician.

"I'm for training career diplomats," he said.