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North Korea

Volume 406: debated on Friday 23 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the UK"s diplomatic relationship with North Korea. [114679]

The UK established diplomatic relations with the Democratic People"s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) in December 2000 and opened an Embassy in Pyongyang in July 2001. The first UK Ambassador to North Korea, David Slinn, arrived in Pyongyang on 23 November 2002. North Korea has recently opened a mission in London.We believe it is important to remain engaged with North Korea, and we use every opportunity that our channels of communication afford to put our concerns across and urge the DPRK to comply with its international obligations. However, we have made it clear to the Government of North Korea that there can be no normal relations between our two countries until the nuclear issue is resolved, and that our bilateral relationship therefore remains under review.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to establish effective bilateral relations with the Democratic People"s Republic of North Korea. [114687]

The UK established diplomatic relations with the Democratic People"s Republic of Korea in December 2000, and the British Embassy in Pyongyang opened on 30 July 2001. This established a channel of communication which has allowed us to address the North Korean authorities directly on issues of international concern, such as non-proliferation and human rights.We have also conducted a number of educational projects, aimed at increasing the North Korean people"s knowledge of and interaction with the outside world. These include English language training and human rights courses. We have made it clear to the North Korean government that there can be no normal relationship between our two countries until the issue of North Korea"s nuclear programmes has been resolved.