Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed that Australia would enter the conflict if North Korea launched an attack on the US.
Speaking to radio station 3AW on Friday morning, Turnbull said that if the US was attacked by the Hermit State then Australia would step up.
“If there is an attack on the United States by North Korea then the ANZUS treaty will be invoked and Australia will come to the aid of the United States, just as if there was an attack on Australia, the United States would come to our aid,” he said, adding “The United States has no stronger ally than Australia.”
Although he remained confident that the situation would not escalate to such an extent, saying that diplomatic sanctions would “bring the regime to its senses in a peaceful manner”.
Last night Turnbull spoke with US vice president Mike Pence on the developing situation with North Korea, and reiterated that Australia’s commitment to its ally was “absolutely rock-solid”.
Pence also tweeted that the discussions had been successful.
Talked w/ @TurnbullMalcolm. He offered sympathy for Osprey incident. We discussed growing North Korean threat & close US/Australia alliance
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) August 10, 2017
Former prime ministers Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd have expressed their concerns about Australia’s defence measures if North Korea was to launch an attack against on the country, but Turnbull ensured that the current advice to the government is that a missile defence shield such as the THAAD system used by South Korea is not necessary.
US president Donald Trump said overnight that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un had “disrespected our country greatly, he has said things that are horrific”.
“And with me, he’s not getting away with it… it’s a whole new ballgame.”
The president added: “Let’s see what he does with Guam. He does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody’s seen before, what will happen in North Korea. You’ll see, and he’ll see. It’s not a dare, it’s a statement.”
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un this week said it was “considering a plan” to fire four missiles at Guam after Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on the rogue state.
Trump later said maybe his “fire and fury” statement “wasn’t tough enough”, promising an “event the likes of which nobody’s ever seen” if North Korea were to attack Guam.
Guam is home to Joint Region Marianas, a US military command that includes Andersen Air Force Base. It is just over 3000 km north of Cairns in Far North Queensland.
The island is 50km long and around 15km wide, and is home to just over 162,000 people.
On Friday afternoon Turnbull and the Australian minister for defence met with the Department of Defence to be briefed on the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
“Once again, we call on the North Korean regime to stop its illegal, reckless, provocative conduct which is putting the peace and the stability of the region at risk and indeed, the peace and stability of the whole world at risk,” said Turnbull.
“We join with the global community in enforcing sanctions, economic sanctions, against the North Korean regime to bring it to its senses.
“We welcome the decision of the UN Security Council, recently supported by China and Russia, to impose harsher sanctions on North Korea.”
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