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Aus govt cancels visit by North Korean diplomats

Last Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 16:06

Melbourne: In the wake of North Korea`s nuclear test, the Australian government has called off the scheduled visit of diplomats from Pyongyang who were due to arrive in Canberra to set up an embassy.

North Korean diplomats` trip to Australia to set up the embassy was cancelled by Prime Minister Julia Gillard`s government following its latest nuclear test, `The Australian` reported.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr said officials from Pyongyang were due to arrive in Canberra this weekend to scout for property for a diplomatic post, but had been told they were not welcome at the moment.

"We postponed the arrival of North Korean diplomats in Australia as a gesture following this detonation," Senator Carr told a Senate estimates hearing.
"They were due to arrive this weekend," he said.

Carr said Australia was committed to working with South Korea closely at the UN Security Council to work effectively to sanction North Korea over the nuclear blast.
"We would be there with (South) Korea and Japan on the front rank of nations seeking to get this the highest priority," Carr said, adding it was vital to work with North Korea`s ally China to ensure Pyongyang changes its behaviour.

"I am looking for an opportunity to convey to the representatives of Beijing that we understand the sincerity and the strength of their intervention and we believe it is the only nation that I think will have influence on the behaviour of that country," he told the committee.

The move by North Korea to set up an embassy was welcomed by the Australian government last month.

North Korea this week staged its most powerful nuclear test yet, claiming a breakthrough with a "miniaturised" device in a striking act of defiance to global powers.

First Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 16:06
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