POLITICS

North Korea A 'Serious Threat To The Stability Of Our Region,' Julie Bishop

Well thermonuclear war, according to the North Koreans

18/04/2017 9:02 AM AEST | Updated 18/04/2017 10:06 AM AEST
AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File
Soldiers march across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea

CANBERRA -- North Korea is threatening thermonuclear war with the United States again, this time in the whole new era of the Trump administration which has just declared the "era of strategic patience is over" with the rogue Asian nation and, direct from the President, it has "gotta behave".

Tensions have escalated over North Korean moves to accelerate its weapons development, but North Korea's Deputy UN ambassador is accusing the Trump Administration of acting like "gangsters".

In turn, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said North Korea's nuclear ambitions were a "serious threat to the peace and stability of our region".

"And this is unacceptable."

But the rhetoric has been topped by U.S. President Donald Trump who, when asked on the sidelines of a White House Easter event, said that North Korea "gotta behave" and promised "you'll see" when later pressed on what he will do.

Lim Byung-shick Yonhap via AP
Julie Bishop visiting the DMZ on Feb 18, 2017.

The usually tense situation between the North Korea and the U.S has appeared all the more aggravated with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence visiting the Demilitarisation Zone (DMZ) dividing North and South Korea, this weekend's failed North Korean missile test and the U.S. deployment of the Carl Vinson nuclear carrier task group in the waters off the Korean Peninsula.

There's also been joint U.S-South Korean air force military exercises that Deputy UN Ambassador Kim In-ryong has described as an "aggressive war drill" aimed at his country, while he said North Korea is enraged by U.S. missile attacks on Syria.

"It has created a dangerous situation in which thermonuclear war may break out at any moment on the peninsula and poses a serious threat to world peace and security," he told reporters in New York.

"The U.S. is disturbing the global peace and stability and insisting on the gangster-like logic that its invasion of a sovereign state is 'decisive and just, and proportionate' and contributes to 'defending' the international order in its bid to apply it to the Korean Peninsula as well."

He was asked to respond to Trump's suggestion that North Korea should "behave", but declined.

However, the big question is what will the Trump Administration now do?

Vice President Pence insists "all options are on the table" to deal with North Korean threat and if Pyongyang struck first he warned it would be met with "an overwhelming and effective response".

Speaking alongside South Korea's acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn, Pence said the previous U.S. administration had observed a policy of "strategic patience", but this was now over.

"Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan," Pence said.

"North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region."

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has backed the U.S. posture, telling ABC Radio on Tuesday that "any rise in tensions is entirely due to the provocative behaviour of North Korea".

"It is on a path to achieving nuclear weapons capability.

"We believe that Kim Jong-Un has a clear ambition to developing an intercontinental missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload as far as the United States that would mean that Australia would be in reach."

"Unless it was prevented from doing so it will be a serious threat to the peace and stability of our region and this is unacceptable."

On the end to the era of strategic patience, Bishop said the Trump administration has realised that a stalemate with North Korea is not in its interests and it wants to work with China, which is the only nation North Korea seriously listens to.

​"Clearly the United States is seeking creative ways of ensuring that North Korea is prevented from carrying out further tests, but this can be done in many ways," Bishop said.

"All options are on the table according to the President, which clearly includes military options, but that's not a change to previous administrations."

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