This essay “New Zealand’s Involvement in the Korean War” is republished with credit to the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. “Monitoring the Armistice” is republished courtesy of the New Zealand Defence Force. Paul Bellamy, author of “A Cautious Start”, “A Challenging Relationship” and “A Gradual De-Thawing”, has undertaken work for various international organisations and published in diverse areas, including co-leading an international study of human security. He was a lead speaker at the 2012 IFANS-NZIIA Roundtable talks. He is currently co-authoring a book on civil wars. With regard to Korea, he has published various articles, and visited South Korea sponsored by the Korea Foundation in 2011. His most recent work on New Zealand-North Korea relations focuses on the 1973 to 1989 period. See Paul Bellamy, ‘A reluctant friend – New Zealand’s relationship with North Korea 1973-1989’, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, 14 (1), June 2012. Please note that the author, Paul Bellamy, does not belong to the NZ-DPRK Society or DPR-Korea New Zealand, and the views expressed here are not necessarily those of his employer.
New Zealand was involved militarily in Korea from 1950 to 1957, first as part of the United Nations ‘police action’ to repel North Korea’s invasion of its southern neighbour, and then in a garrison role after the armistice in July 1953.
Gradual moves to build New Zealand-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea relations during the 1970s provided the foundations for later diplomatic relations. Thus, a review of New Zealand’s position and factors shaping the relationship is timely with interaction between both countries this year (2012).
Brief outline of post-Korean War relations between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and New Zealand. This article first outlines the minimal relations between both countries after the War before examining the start of semi-official dialogue, and ultimately the establishment of a formal relationship. Finally, the relationship’s potential future is outlined.
In recent years the Korean Peninsula has witnessed significant tension, including clashes between both Koreas and nuclear tests. Moreover, a new President has been elected in South Korea and a transition initiated in North Korea towards a young and untested leader, a leader who currently shows little inclination towards making fundamental policy changes facilitating reconciliation and stability. Indeed tensions have increased. In light of such developments, and the Peninsula’s importance to New Zealand, reviewing the late establishment of diplomatic relations between Wellington and Pyongyang is timely. As with earlier relations, moves to establish this relationship were challenging. The relationship remains difficult with New Zealand’s concern over North Korean actions warranted, and a cautious approach advisable.