Foreign minister Julie Bishop has said that all options must be considered to keep Australia safe against the threat of North Korea.
On Tuesday, Kim Jong Un ordered the successful launch of the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
The missile reportedly has the power to deliver a nuclear-capable strike on any location on the planet.
Bishop has condemned Pyongyang’s actions and said it’s up to all nations, including China, to put pressure on the regime to cease their nuclear program.
“This is a serious escalation of North Korea’s ability to threaten nations even further afield than its immediate region,” she told Sky News on Wednesday.
“The concern is now that North Korea will master the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on such a weapon.
“The regime must get a global message that its behaviour is unacceptable.”
She emphasised the need for China to be involved in the effort as it “is North Korea’s economic lifeline”.
The US has taken every step short of military strikes to stop North Korea to date and now says that the era of “strategic patience” had ended and that “all options,” including military strikes, were on the table for reeling back the rogue state.
Bishop acknowledged that if the US were to take that next step “there would have to be a risk assessment”.
“It would mean assured destruction of North Korea if it were to be so provocative and foolhardy as to seek to dump a nuclear payload on the United States,” she says.
Australia will now work with the US and its coalition partners on a response.
“All options have to be considered to ensure that we can keep our region safe,” she said.
While the it is an escalation by North Korea the possibility that it would a direct attack is unlikely.
As Business Insider’s Alex Lockie writes:
The US already lives with a nuclear-armed North Korea that can level Seoul, South Korea’s capital and home to metro-area population of 25 million civilians. North Korea can already lay waste to the 28,000 US troops permanently stationed near the demilitarized zone.
Japan already lives with the knowledge that North Korea could most likely range Tokyo, home to a metro-area of almost 38 million, with a nuclear weapon.
Why should anything change when North Korea can reach Guam, Alaska, Los Angeles, or New York? North Korea doesn’t attack Seoul, Tokyo, Guam, or any other place — because if they did, the US would completely destroy them.