Not many people are talking to North Korea right now, but one man who does so regularly is Victoria University law graduate Payton Kaiwai, who completed his law degree in 2011 before joining the Royal New Zealand Navy.
He is now part of the group comprising six US military personnel who help monitor the 250 kilometre border between North and South Korea.
More significantly, he is one of the key communication channels between North Korea and the rest of the world, the Western World at least, as he delivers communications verbally across the massively fortified border.
Operating as a UN armistice officer, Lieutenant Kaiwai also helps run an education and orientation programme and also helps host visiting foreign dignitaries, including military personnel, diplomats and lawmakers.
His studies are not over though. He is also working towards a master’s degree in international security at Massey University.
The US-led UNCMAC Secretariat is charged with monitoring and supervising the 1953 Armistice Agreement that suspended hostilities between North Korea and United Nations forces defending South Korea.
The NZDF currently has five members monitoring the armistice and performing operational, education, liaison and corridor control functions for the UNCMAC-S.
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