The record of relations between Australia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is one of the oddest and most checkered in diplomatic history. A short period of recognition and cultural cooperation was followed by the resurgent nuclear crisis and the drug-smuggling ship incident, which proved to be hard tests for this shaky relationship. The closure of the DPRK embassy to Australia in January 2008 once again left the public confused and the pundits guessing about the true reasons behind this quiet démarche. This paper examines the major ups and downs in the history of Australia-DPRK bilateral relations and offers some clues as to what might have been wrong in Australian policy and attitudes toward the isolated communist nation. Australian involvement in the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative and the ban on the supply of "luxury goods" to North Korea will be discussed. Interviews with serving and veteran diplomats, declassified Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade archival material and international media reports provided the basis for this research.
|Issue number||No 3|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|