DATE=5/8/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=NORTH KOREA / AUSTRALIA NUMBER=2-262089 BYLINE=ANNE BARKER DATELINE=CANBERRA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Australia and North Korea are to restore full diplomatic relations after a 25 year freeze. Anne Barker reports from Canberra, Australia will become the second nation this year to normalize ties with the reclusive nation. TEXT: Australia and North Korea first established diplomatic ties in 1974. But the following year Pyongyang inexplicably expelled Australia's ambassador and shut its embassy in Canberra. The two countries reopened negotiations on re- establishing full relations a year ago, and on Monday Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer made an announcement in Canberra - ///DOWNER ACT /// Both Australia and North Korea will soon appoint non-resident ambassadors. Australia will be represented by our ambassador in Beijing, David Irvine. This agreement ends nearly 25 years of interrupted relations between Australia and North Korea. /// END ACT /// Mr. Downer says Australia still has concerns about North Korea's weapons programs, but is following the trend led by South Korea and Western nations towards warmer relations with Pyongyang. He says Australia believes it can achieve more through engagement with than through isolating North Korea. /// ACT DOWNER /// It is the view of the Australian government that despite the concerns we have about North Korea, nevertheless we think it makes more sense to engage with them rather than ignore them. /// END ACT /// Australia will become the second nation this year to normalize ties with North Korea -- which has been actively seeking to break out of its international isolation. Italy opened diplomatic relations with the North in January, becoming the sixth European Union nation to do so. Australia says it also supports North Korea's entry into the regional security dialogue -- the ASEAN Regional Forum. But its new warmth toward Pyongyang does not come without conditions. Mr. Downer says if Pyongyang stages another missile test, as it did two years ago, it may again become a pariah. /// ACT DOWNER /// I think the international community, not just Australia, would react very negatively if North Korea were to conduct another long range missile test, a repeat performance would generate a very strong reaction. /// END ACT /// Australia's Prime Minister John Howard will travel to South Korea next week, with relations with the North sure to be high on the agenda. (SIGNED) NEB/AB/FC 08-May-2000 05:44 AM EDT (08-May-2000 0944 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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