During the Cold War New Zealand’s position on North Korea was primarily shaped by the view that the authoritarian regime’s foreign policy was aggressive and unsophisticated, the prioritising of relations with South Korea, and the stance of friends and allies. The gradual development of New Zealand-DPRK relations was challenging but moves to build ties assisted by the Society provided foundations for diplomatic relations.
New Zealand’s position on DPRK visits is now more relaxed, but serious challenges to better relations remain. Here New Zealand-ROK relations along with valid internationally held concerns over North Korea’s foreign policy, very poor human rights record and nuclear testing all understandably influence New Zealand’s caution. Constructive dialogue encouraging mutual trust, transparency, and cooperation is important. However, the North currently appears unlikely to make fundamental changes facilitating stronger relations, and caution remains prudent.