New Zealand Embassy Seoul, South Korea

McCully condemns North Korean link to Cheonan sinking

21 May, 2010

Foreign Minister Murray McCully today expressed grave concern at the findings of a joint international investigation linking North Korea to the fatal sinking of a South Korean naval vessel.

Civilian and military experts from South Korea, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Sweden found evidence that the 26 March sinking of the ROKS Cheonan was caused by a North Korean torpedo.

"The conclusions reached by the inquiry constitute a serious, deliberate, and unprovoked challenge to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, and regional security more broadly," Mr McCully said.

"The North Korean leadership should be under no illusion as to the gravity with which the international community views this matter, which follows on from last year's provocative rocket launch and nuclear test.

"New Zealand will support South Korea and others in considering appropriate responses that encourage stability on the Korean Peninsula.

"New Zealand commends South Korea for the careful and deliberate manner in which it has handled the tragic incident which caused the loss of 46 lives. We also extend our sympathy and condolences to the families of the dead and missing sailors.

"We urge North Korea to refrain from further destabilising acts. The North Korean leadership must refocus its efforts towards peace and dialogue, including its Six Party Talks' commitment to abandon its existing nuclear programmes," Mr McCully said.

(www.beehive.govt.nz)

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