North Korea weapons program poses ‘serious threat’ to Australia: Bishop

Australia’s foreign minister believes the United States will find “new and creative” ways to deal with North Korea.


US President Donald Trump has said all options, including military action, are on the table to prevent North Korea from achieving nuclear weapons capability.

“It means the Trump administration will seek out new and creative ways to meet the North Korean challenge,” Ms Bishop told ABC radio on Tuesday.

“We certainly support the right of our allies and friends to ensure their interests are protected and their citizens defended against any possible attack.”

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Australia has long condemned North Korea’s missile launches. (AAP)EPA

Ms Bishop said the North Korean threat to regional and global peace had increased.

“Any rise in tensions is entirely due to the provocative behaviour of North Korea,” she said.

The Turnbull government believes leader Kim Jong Un has a clear ambition to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US, meaning Australia would also be within reach.

“Unless it is prevented from doing so it will be a serious threat to the peace and stability of our region and this is unacceptable,” Ms Bishop said.

The foreign minister also reiterated calls for China to use its unique and potentially decisive leverage against the North Korean regime.

“We believe there is more China can do in terms of sanctions and other economic efforts.”

Ms Bishop also warned that Australia could be at risk of attack if North Korea’s progressive weapons program continued.

“[North Korea] is on a path to achieving nuclear weapons capability and we believe Kim Jong-un has a clear ambition to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload as far as the US,” she said.

“That would mean Australia would be in reach so unless it is prevented from doing so it will be a serious threat to the peace and stability of our region and that is unacceptable.”

North Korea ready react to ‘any mode of war’ from US 

North Korea is preparing for ‘any mode of war’ triggered by US military action, Pyongyang’s envoy to the United Nations warned Monday, saying his country would respond to a missile or nuclear strike ‘in kind.’

The statement from North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, followed warnings from US Vice President Mike Pence to Pyongyang not to test US resolve.

“If the United States dares opt for a military action (…) the DPRK is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the Americans,” Kim told a news conference at UN headquarters in New York.

“We will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs,” he said.

North Korea has taken “self-defensive” measures in response to US threats of military action and these reflect Pyongyang’s determination to “counter nukes and ICBM in kind,” Kim said, referring to intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Pence: ‘Era of patience’ with North Korea over

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North Korean official says will continue missile tests: BBC

North Korea will continue to regularly test missiles and any military action against it by the United States would prompt “all out war”, a senior North Korean official told the BBC on Monday.

“We’ll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis,” the BBC quoted Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol as saying in an interview.

“If the US is reckless enough to use military means it would mean from that very day, an all out war.”

The BBC reported Han also said North Korea believed its nuclear weapons protect it from the threat of military action by the United States.

WATCH: Pence arrives near DMZ after North Korea’s failed missile test

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Pence earlier told a news conference in South Korea that “the era of strategic patience is over” after North Korea on Sunday test-fired another missile and fears mounted that it may be preparing a sixth nuclear test.

Pyongyang is seeking to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them last year.


Kim also confirmed that a new nuclear test was under preparation, saying that the plans had been announced and that “it will take place.”

“As far as nuclear test is concerned, it was already announced to the public. It is something that our headquarters decided. At a time and at the place where our headquarters deem necessary, it will take place,” he said.

WATCH: North Korea must change behaviour, US says

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‘Got to behave’

US President Donald Trump’s decision at the weekend to send the Carl Vinson carrier-led navy strike group to the Korean peninsula shows that the “US reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase,” said Kim.

The North Korean deputy envoy asserted that Pyongyang would hold the United States “wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions.”

The envoy criticized the US missile strikes that hit an air base in Syria last week, saying Washington was resorting to a “gangster-like logic” that its military action was proportionate and could apply to the Korean peninsula as well.

Trump on Monday said his message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was: “Got to behave.”


UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric separately expressed concern over rising tensions on the Korean peninsula and said the latest missile test was “troubling”.

He urged North Korea to “take all the steps necessary to de-escalate the situation and return to dialogue on denuclearization.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will next week chair a special meeting of the UN Security Council on North Korea.