Radio Australia (23 Jan. 2009)
Presenter: Linda Mottram
Speakers: Dr Kim Woosang, South Korea’s ambassador to Canberra,
Dr Leonid Petrov, North Korea expert from the Australian National University
MOTTRAM: Two middle powers, deeply complementary resources, shared values and strategic goals. And 20-billion US dollars worth of mutual trade as of October last year. Australia and South Korea must be the very closest of friends. But something has long been missing. […]
On the biggest security challenge in north Asia though, North Korea and its nuclear weapons program, the middle powers continue to rely on the great powers through the six party talks. Australia and South Korea see eye-to-eye, with Australia refusing all but humanitarian assistance to Pyongyang until it dismantles its nuclear weapons program.
The issue is certain to feature in the South Korean and Australian foreign ministers’ talks. And North Korea expert from the Australian National University, Doctor Leonid Petrov, says since Pyongyang won’t relinquish its nuclear program, its time for Australia to build new links with Pyongyang where currently there are virtually none.
PETROV: And North Korea gives a good example of India and Pakistan, two nations that developed their own nuclear progams who have indigenous nuclear programs and have nuclear weapons but they’re still recognised by the international community, they still have good and strong bilateral links with Australia and the rest of international community so why not North Korea.
MOTTRAM: Why not North Korea, I mean the answer I suspect diplomatically is we don’t trust these people they are completely different to anything else we know we will not let them have this?
PETROV: That’s logical but they don’t trust us either. There was a goodwill sign from North Korea side to open the embassy and stay here for eight years before closing it down based on economic reasons. There was no trade, there was no co-operation, there were restrictions of movement for North Korea staff, so probably the credit of trust disappeared and North Korea don’t trust us either, so I suppose that’s the time to improve the relations, to significantly uplift this level of mutual understanding and trust and we should start somewhere…