SEOUL, New Zealand remains committed to promoting peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, amid uncertainties in stalled nuclear talks between North Korea and the United States, its top envoy in South Korea said Tuesday.
Ambassador to Seoul Philip Turner also stressed his government's backing for the ongoing diplomatic efforts to chart a peaceful path to settling Pyongyang's decadeslong nuclear quandary.
"New Zealand is firmly committed to a stable and peaceful solution on the peninsula and to achieving the CVID, and we strongly encourage all countries to continue their diplomatic efforts to that end," he said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency on Tuesday. CVID stands for complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.
Regarding the no-deal summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Vietnam, the ambassador said the unsuccessful outcome demonstrated that there's a long way before the negotiations can yield any tangible results.
"The outcome is a reminder of how complex and challenging the situation on the peninsula is. It's a very complicated process and we need to be realistic about how long it will take to build a lasting peace on the peninsula," he said.
The Hanoi summit ended without an agreement as the two sides failed to reach common ground on the scopes of the North's denuclearization and sanctions relief by Washington.
On bilateral relations, the ambassador expressed delight in the recent launching of a new fleet supply vessel built by South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. for the Royal New Zealand Navy, hoping for more similar deals going forward.
"As a maritime nation, it enables us to support deployment of not only ground forces, but also humanitarian and disaster relief operations," he said. "Hyundai was very keen to build more ships and we hope we'll be able to do so as well."
The 173-by-24-meter auxiliary ship, weighing 23,000 tons, has been named "Aotearoa," meaning New Zealand in the indigenous Maori language, and will be delivered to the New Zealand Navy in 2020.
As for bilateral trade, the ambassador noted that both countries have benefited under the free trade agreement that came into effect in 2015 and raised expectations for more business opportunities for Korean companies in New Zealand.
"Investment from Korea in New Zealand is quite small in comparison to the size of the Korean economy. So I believe there's a huge potential for growth in investment, in such areas as food, tourism and education," he added.
Source: Yonhap news Agency