Saturday, July 13, 2024

NZ bolsters North Korea sanctions monitoring

Prime Minister, Christopher Luxon, has today announced New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea.

The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan, the PM confirmed.

“This increase reflects the importance New Zealand places on collective security efforts that support peace and stability and the international rules-based system in the Indo-Pacific region.”

“It also reflects our opposition to North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, which are a serious threat to stability in the region,” said Mr Luxon.

The sanctions adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council aim to persuade North Korea to denuclearise and abandon its ballistic missile capabilities.

Mr Luxon says the Government has committed to send NZDF ships for the first time, and increase the frequency of deployments of aircraft, to support sanctions monitoring  until September 2026.  

“These deployments help detect and deter actions that directly contravene United Nations Security Council sanctions on North Korea, such as ship-to-ship transfers of illicit material at sea,” he said.

The programme of deployments will begin with the tanker HMNZS Aotearoa (pictured, file image) conducting replenishment operations in the international waters of North Asia in the second half of this year. The next P-8A Poseidon aircraft deployment will take place in the first half of next year.

“These deployments are an excellent opportunity for our Defence Force personnel to utilise their skills, leadership and experience in a multinational environment.”

While the assets and personnel are in Japan, the Defence Force will also explore opportunities for bilateral exercises and activities with Japanese counterparts, he said. 

New Zealand has contributed to monitoring United Nations sanctions on North Korea since 2018. It does so as part of a group of countries which contribute aircraft and ships to the maritime area around the Korean Peninsula to detect and deter sanctions evasion.

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