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North Korea makes another threat to America as Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull hold talks

6 September 2017 12:22 AM
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North Korea makes another threat to America as Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull hold talks

MALCOLM Turnbull has revealed what he and Donald Trump discussed in their phone call on North Korea, and they’re in “one mind” about how to take action.

The two leaders have agreed North Korea poses a grave threat to regional stability and that it is time for the international community to act.

“It was a very good call, very warm discussion, very constructive,” Prime Minister Turnbull said today.

“We are absolutely of the one mind in condemning this reckless conduct.

“We discussed the importance of the full enforcement of the current sanctions regime and the importance of additional sanctions which, of course, are under consideration at the moment, being imposed in the future.”

The Prime Minister did not reveal whether the two leaders discussed a strategy on how to deal with North Korea beyond further economic sanctions.

The two leaders agreed to continue calling for China to pressure North Korea to end its nuclear and missile testing program.

“While we both recognise that China is not responsible for North Korea’s conduct - as I have said many times, North Korea is not to China what East Germany was to the Soviet Union - nonetheless China does have the greatest leverage by far and we will both continue to encourage China to bring more economic pressure to bear on North Korea to bring this regime to its senses,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

The leaders also discussed action against ISIS militants in the Philippines and the floods and hurricane damage in the US.

The Prime Minister’s talk with President Trump comes after he spoke to the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week and the Indonesian President Joko Widodo yesterday about the threat.

“Everybody wants to get this dangerous situation resolved, bring this reckless, dangerous, provocative regime to its senses without conflict.

“And the best avenue to achieve that, that we can see, is continued enforcement of strong economic sanctions, and, of course, the country with the biggest lever in that regard is China.”

Earlier, Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said Australia and its allies sought to avoid a military conflict with North Korea “at all costs”.

The Minister will be travelling to Seoul today to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and to deliver the keynote address at a forum on regional and global security.

“We seek to pursue the sanctions process and to ensure that they are allowed to operate to their fullest effect to send the clearest possible message to the regime in North Korea that their behaviour is unacceptable,” she told ABC radio.

She will also be travelling to the Philippines to discuss the conflict with extremists in Marawi.

“We see the threat of returning foreign fighters as the efforts of ISIS and its affiliates to gain a foothold in South East Asian and in our region more broadly as extremely concerning and also extremely important for Australia’s interests both in terms of our own national security and activities that we’ve seen onshore in recent years,” she said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he and President Trump are of "one mind" when it comes to North Korea - more sanctions are an option and China needs to do more.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has refrained from criticising the US President, but said he was not his “groom” and Trump was not his “bride.”

Speaking at a news conference during a summit in China on Tuesday, Putin dismissed as “naive” a question about whether he was disappointed in Trump after he said a decision to shutter Russian diplomatic outposts in the US was poorly handled.

In comments carried by Russian news agencies, Putin said Trump is “not my bride, and I’m not his groom”.

Asked how Russia would feel if Trump were impeached, Putin said it would be “absolutely wrong” for Russia to discuss domestic US politics. Russian officials cheered Trump when he was elected last year, and Putin praised him as someone who wanted to improve ties with Russia. However, further US sanctions on Russia and the US decision to close Russian diplomatic outposts have raised concerns that the two countries remain far apart.

The Trump administration last week ordered the closure of three Russian facilities in the US: The San Francisco consulate and trade missions in New York and Washington. It was the latest in a series of escalating retaliatory measures between the former Cold War foes.

Putin said the US had a right to close consulates but “it was done in such a rude way”.

“It is hard to hold a dialogue with people who mix Austria with Australia,” he continued, an apparent reference to a decade-old gaffe by George W Bush, who during a 2007 visit to Sydney referred to Austrian troops when he meant Australian troops.

“The American nation, America is truly a great country and a great people if they can tolerate such a big number of people with such a low level of political culture,” Putin said.

NORTH Korea has warned it will deliver a “gift package” to the United States as tensions mount over the rogue nation’s apparent nuclear capability.

Han Tae Song, the ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the United Nations in Geneva, was addressing a UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament two days after his country detonated its sixth and largest nuclear test.

“The recent self-defence measures by my country, DPRK, are a gift package addressed to none other than the US,” Han told the Geneva forum.

“The US will receive more gift packages from my country as long as its relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK,” he said.

Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull will speak on Wednesday about measures to counter North Korea’s increasing nuclear aggression.

Mr Trump offered a massive injection of military might to South Korea and an emergency session of the UN Security Council was told Kim was “begging for war”.

Tensions on the Korean peninsular are at a decades-high level after Pyongyang claimed to have successfully test a hydrogen bomb capable of travelling on an intercontinental ballistic missile over the weekend.

It was the hermit kingdom’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test and drew widespread international condemnation.

But Kim appeared undeterred and South Korea has warned another missile test was being prepared, which would be the third in a month.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday warned against using “confrontational rhetoric” over North Korea and said big powers must come up with a single strategy to address the crisis.

Guterres appeared to be taking a swipe at North Korea’s leadership and at US President Donald Trump who has warned that Pyongyang would face “fire and fury” if it keeps threatening the United States.

“Confrontational rhetoric may lead to unintended consequences. The solution must be political,” Guterres told reporters.

“The potential consequences of military action are too horrific.” The UN chief called on the Security Council to show unity and agree on steps forward, a day after the United States traded barbs with Russia and China on a response to North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

The United States is pushing for tougher UN sanctions, but Russia and China are arguing for dialogue with Pyongyang on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

The US urged China and other countries to cut off the supply of oil and energy to North Korea.

“We have kicked the can down the road long enough. There is no more road left,” the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said.

“Enough is enough. We have taken an incremental approach, and despite the best of intentions, it has not worked.”

Prime Minister Turnbull welcomed the prospect of the international community imposing tougher sanctions saying they would be the key to avoiding war. Australia would immediately be involved if the US was to declare war on North Korea.

“The need now is to enforce the toughest economic sanctions on North Korea,” he said.

“Now the Security Council has already imposed sanctions and what they are now considering is imposing even tougher ones.

“Really that is the key to bringing the regime to its senses, without conflict.”

In a phone call to discuss the crisis on Tuesday, President Donald Trump told South Korean President Moon Jae-in the US would be prepared to offer “many billions” in weapons sales and also agreed the South could build more powerful non-nuclear missiles.

“President Trump reaffirmed the United States’ iron-clad commitment to defend South Korea,” South Korean government spokesman Park Soo-hyun said.

“The two leaders also agreed to push for maximum pressure and sanctions against North Korea.”

The White House said of the call “both leaders underscored the grave threat that North Korea’s latest provocation poses to the entire world”.

“President Trump gave his in-principle approval to South Korea’s initiative to lift restrictions on their missile payload capabilities,” it said in a statement.

“President Trump also provided his conceptual approval for the purchase of many billions of dollars’ worth of military weapons and equipment from the United States by South Korea.”

The Korean border is the most heavily fortified in the world and is within striking distance of Seoul, with a population of 25 million. Any US strike on North Korea is expected to see Pyongyang attack South Korea.

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has previously said a war would cause heavy civilian casualties in the first few days before the US could mitigate the North’s capabilities.

“There is a possibility of further provocations,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

“We need to remain extremely vigilant and do everything we can to ensure the safety of our people.”

A government spokesman told the Nikkei Asian Review advance evacuation preparations were under way.

“If the US decided on a military strike against the North, the Japanese government would start moving toward an evacuation on its own accord regardless of whether the American plans are public,” a Japanese government source was quoted saying.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned against “giving in to emotions” amid tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program in a phone call to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Mr Lavrov “noted that a choice should be made in favour of political and diplomatic efforts to look for a peaceful settlement,” Russia’s foreign ministry said after he spoke by phone with Sec. Tillerson.

Mr Lavrov “vigorously spoke out against an escalation of military tensions in Northeast Asia,” the ministry said.


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