“Being desirous of developing friendly and cooperative relations on the principles of mutual respects for sovereignty, non-interference in the other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefits, the DPRK government has decided to establish diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level with New Zealand as from March 26, 2001. The establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries will contribute to the deepening of the mutual understanding and trusts of the two countries and peoples as well as to the development of bilateral relations in all fields.”
Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), March 26 2001
Article 17 of the Socialist Constitution states that “Independence, peace, and friendship are the basic ideals of the foreign policy and the principles of the external activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The State shall establish diplomatic as well as political, economic and cultural relations with all friendly countries, on the principles of complete equality, independence, mutual respect, non-interference in each other’s affairs and mutual benefit.”
North Korea has maintained membership in several multilateral organizations. It became a member of the United Nations in September 1991. North Korea also belongs to the Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO]; the International Civil Aviation Organization; the International Postal Union; the UN Conference on Trade and Development; the International Telecommunications Union; the UN Development Program [UNDP]; the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization; the World Health Organization; the World Intellectual Property Organization; the World Meteorological Organization; the International Maritime Organization; the International Committee of the Red Cross; and the Nonaligned Movement. The UN country team, a group of the five United Nations agencies with a permanent presence in the DPRK, consists of the UNDP, the World Food Program [WFP], the UN Population Fund [UNFPA], the UN Children’s Fund [UNICEF], and the FAO. The DPRK is also a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum. Ri Su-Yong is the current Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Minister of Foreign Affairs (2007-2014)
Pak Ui-Chun began his diplomatic career in 1972 based in Cameroon. He has previously served as ambassador to Algeria, Syria and Lebanon. From 1989 to 2007, he was North Korea’s ambassador to Russia before being appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs following the death of Paek Nam-sun, who died in office in 2007 aged 78. The Foreign Ministry position was vacant for four months before Pak’s appointment was confirmed under a decree of the Presidium, the decision-making body of the Supreme People’s Assembly. Pak has been a member of the Presidium since 1998. Pak has met with New Zealand diplomatic officials and Members of Parliament, including Winston Peters (as Foreign Minister in 2007) and more recently New Zealand’s Ambassador to Korea, Patrick Rata, in 2012. Karim Dickie, Administrator of DPR-Korea New Zealand, met Pak Ui-Chun in July 2013. He was replaced by Ri Su-Yong following the 2014 parliamentary election.
New Zealand has various communication channels with North Korea. These include formal diplomatic ties and engagement through international processes. Diplomatic relations between North Korea and New Zealand were formally established in March 2001.