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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. 
08-May-2000 05:44 AM EDT (08-May-2000 0944 UTC)
Source: Voice of America

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