Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad Concludes Three Nation Central and East Asian Visit

Pyongyang: South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad today, Tuesday 27 September 2005, concluded the first Ministerial South African government visit to North Korea scheduled from Saturday - Tuesday, 24 - 27 September 2005.

The visit, part of a three nation visit to central and east Asia that included South Korea and China, comes in the context of South Africa's commitment to consolidate relations with all countries of the South through the framework of the Asian-African Strategic Partnership acceded to by Asian and African Heads of State and Government at the Asia-Africa Summit in Indonesia in April 2005.

The New Strategic Partnership mandated Asian and African Heads of State and Government to work to consolidate economic relations between both regions that would reflect the strong political ties between the continents that have been developed over many years.

While in North Korea, Deputy Minister Pahad held political and economic discussions with the President of the Presidium, Kim Yong Nam, Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hyong Jun and Vice Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Myong San.

Deputy Minister Pahad conveyed the congratulations of the South African government to the leadership of North Korea on having reached an agreement during the latest round of 6-party talks, aimed at resolving the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula. Deputy Minister Pahad said that the world and indeed South Africa would be eagerly following the November talks in which it is expected that the principles contained in the joint statement issued on Monday, 19 September 2005, would be further expanded on. Deputy Minister Pahad further encouraged the leadership to remain committed to implementing the joint statement since the resolution of the issue on the Korean peninsula would bode well for international peace, security and stability and reunification of both North and South Korea.
In addition, both sides reviewed bilateral political and economic relations between South Africa and North Korea. Although diplomatic relations with North Korea are only seven years old, relations are steadily strengthening.

In this regard, Deputy Minister Pahad briefed the Korean leadership on NEPAD, the African programme for African development that aims to create the conditions for economic growth in Africa and developments within the African Union and its institutions that aims to create peace, stability and security on the Continent.

Deputy Minister Pahad reiterated the South African government's position that it cannot remain an island of prosperity in a sea of underdevelopment and poverty. The President of the Presidium Kim Yong Nam and Vice Minister Kim Hyong Jun also briefed Deputy Minister Pahad extensively on the North Korean intention and desire to reunite with South Korea.

Both sides also agreed to co-operate within multilateral fora like NAM and the G-77 + China. In this regard, Deputy Minister Pahad said that ways in which to make both organisations more relevant to addressing the developmental agenda of the South, should be investigated.

Deputy Minister Pahad also encouraged the North Korean government to investigate opportunities through which economic relations can be increased between both countries.

In discussions with the Vice Minister of Foreign Trade Ri Myong San, the North Korean delegation expressed an interest in the deployment of a science and technology delegation to South Africa during which co-operation projects in this regard can be explored. In addition, co-operation in the fields of mining, oil exploration and drilling, railway development and energy production will be further investigated.

Finally, South African parastatals and private sector were invited to participate in the trade fair held annually during May in Pyongyang. This will provide an excellent opportunity for the South African business sector to market their products and technical skills to the North Korean government.

Deputy Minister Pahad will return to South Africa tomorrow on Wednesday, 28 September 2005.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

27 September 2005

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