Interview with Mr Christian Ehler, Member of the European Parliament

[The European Union (EU) is still deliberating over the results of a field visit to North Korea by a team of the European Union Humanitarian Aid department aimed at assessing the country’s food shortages. No results have been published, and a decision regarding food aid is yet to be made. Furthermore, last month marked the 10th anniversary of the European Commission’s (the EU’s executive body) relations with North Korea. Coinciding with these two benchmarks, Javier Delgado Rivera of NKNews.org interviewed Mr. Christian Ehler, a German Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with the Korean Peninsula. –CanKor.]

Christian Ehler (photo: NKNews.org)

How would you best describe today’s EU ties with the North Korea?

The European relations with North Korea could be better portrayed by its intermittent character. Although 25 EU member states maintain bilateral relations with Pyongyang, and the EU is represented by its ambassador in Seoul, diplomatic relations remain difficult.

The at times unsystematic engagement of Brussels with North Korea depends heavily on the developments of North Korea’s nuclear programme. On top of this, there are a number of regional security concerns that the EU has to watch carefully and react accordingly to.

Such hurdles have not put us off though. Over the years, a multi-tiered dialogue with the North Korean regime has been pursued and, even if characterized by up and downs, has been successfully held. It is worth noting that any kind of exchange with Pyongyang has to be carried out under peculiar terms. North Korea’s political system differs so much from ours that certain adjustments have to be necessarily made if we really aim at cutting short the country’s isolation. Read the rest of this entry »

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