TURNBULL: North Korea is a 'criminal operation... operating as a government'

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un delivering a statement in Pyongyan. Photo: STR/ AFP/ Getty Images.

  • Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is in the Philippines ahead of the East Asia Summit.
  • Turnbull is expected to discuss North Korea, terrorism and money laundering.
  • In his strongest condemnation yet of North Korea, Turnbull called North Korea “a criminal operation”.

  • SYDNEY — Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull met Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night ahead of the East Asia Summit in the Philippines this week.

    While in Manila, Turnbull is expected to discuss North Korea, terrorism and money laundering, speaking on it briefly with Duterte before official proceedings get under way.

    In his strongest condemnation yet of North Korea, Turnbull said Kim Jong Un’s country couldn’t even be considered a proper government.

    “You have got to see it really as a criminal operation… operating as a government, as a state,” he said, according to the Australian Financial Review.

    “And whether it is arms, whether it is cyber crime, whether it is drugs, they are constantly raising money or seeking to raise money to finance their nuclear program.”

    He continued by reiterating the vital importance that all sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on the rogue state are enforced, calling on Hong Kong’s financial secretary, Paul Chan Mo-Po, and other regulators to heighten their restrictions.

    Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Dean Lewins/ Getty Images.

    “[We need to ensure] we constantly stay ahead of the curve to ensure better service for customers, greater transparency and of course our ability to stop criminal organisations, terrorist organisations, criminal regimes like North Korea from exploiting the financial transparency and opportunities of any system anywhere in the world whether it’s Hong Kong, Australia or anywhere else in the world,” he said.

    Turnbull is expected to have bilateral talks with US president Donald Trump as well as leaders from China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia at the summit.

    Last week it was speculated that the Trump administration had narrowed in on a plan for peace with Pyongyang.

    Even though Trump has taken a more militaristic line against North Korea to date, it seems his top diplomats have worked out a road to peace talks.

    Under the plan, North Korea has to tell the US it will stop testing missiles for 60 days, and then the US will engage in direct talks.

    With North Korea’s last test on September 15, this was anticipated to be an imminently doable ask.

    The AFR has more.

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