Australian Statement on the death of Kim Jong Il

[The following was a joint media release by Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Kevin Rudd, and the Acting Prime Minister and Treasurer, the Hon Wayne Swan, issued to the press on 19 December 2011. –CanKor]

The death of Kim Jong-Il is a major development in North Korea and potentially for the wider Asian region.

The Korean peninsula is among the world’s most heavily armed regions, and a potential flashpoint.

North Korea is one of the most isolated regimes on earth, and one of the most dangerous. Its nuclear and missile programs present a real and credible threat to the region and, potentially, to Australia.

It is essential with Kim Jong-Il’s passing that stability on the Korean peninsula is maintained. It is vital that all those with influence on Pyongyang reinforce the need for calm and restraint.

Kim Jong-Il’s passing may also represent an opportunity for the North Korean regime to act more responsibly both domestically and internationally. The Australian Government will continue to urge Pyongyang to act in the interests of its own people and to engage constructively with the international community.

The Government is monitoring developments with close interest and consulting closely with our allies and partners.

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