For­eign Min­is­ter speaks on North Ko­rea to lo­cal Kore­ans

Monthly Chronicle - - Local Politics | News - JU­LIAN LEESER

In re­cent months, North Ko­rea’s nu­clear weapons de­vel­op­ment and test­ing has posed a ma­jor threat to in­ter­na­tional peace and to the se­cu­rity of the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion. The North Korean regime has con­ducted a series of tests of nu­clear de­vices, in­clud­ing pos­si­bly test­ing a hy­dro­gen bomb.

North Ko­rea is the only coun­try test­ing nu­clear weapons. The North Korean regime spends around 25 per cent of GDP on its mil­i­tary, while the North Korean peo­ple starve. This reck­less con­duct is a clear vi­o­la­tion of in­ter­na­tional law. The regime has per­sisted in the face of re­peated de­mands by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to cease.

Aus­tralia is work­ing closely with other coun­tries, in­clud­ing the United States, Ja­pan, South Ko­rea and China, to im­ple­ment all UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions as well as a strong au­ton­o­mous sanc­tions pro­gram against in­di­vid­u­als and en­ti­ties sup­port­ing North Ko­rea. This in­cludes a full ban on over 90 per cent of all of North Ko­rea’s pub­licly re­ported 2016 ex­ports.

I’ve been ex­tremely con­cerned by North Ko­rea’s ac­tions. On 14 Au­gust 2017, I moved a mo­tion in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives con­demn­ing the provoca­tive ac­tions taken by North Ko­rea through their il­le­gal nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­grams.

My mo­tion re­in­forced the im­por­tant role Aus­tralia has played in con­sis­tently ap­ply­ing diplo­matic and eco­nomic pres­sure on North Ko­rea. This in­cludes co-spon­sor­ing United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion 2270 which con­demned the il­le­gal weapons pro­gram, and pro­vid­ing strong diplo­matic sup­port for fur­ther res­o­lu­tions propos­ing tighter sanc­tions.

On Thurs­day 5 Oc­to­ber, I hosted the Min­is­ter for For­eign Af­fairs Julie Bishop at a com­mu­nity fo­rum in Pen­nant Hills. The Min­is­ter dis­cussed with lo­cal res­i­dents the im­pli­ca­tions of North Ko­rea’s ac­tions and the out­look for the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion.

It’s clear that the im­por­tance of this sit­u­a­tion has res­onated within our lo­cal com­mu­nity. I was de­lighted that more than 200 lo­cal res­i­dents at­tended, a stand­ing room only event.

I was also very pleased that many mem­bers of our lo­cal Korean com­mu­nity were there. Berowra is home to more than 2,000 lo­cal res­i­dents with a Korean back­ground, many of whom have a strong in­ter­est in peace and sta­bil­ity on the Korean penin­sula and our re­gional se­cu­rity.

Min­is­ter Bishop out­lined the key role the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment is play­ing in main­tain­ing pres­sure on the rogue state and the im­pact the sanc­tions will have on the elite com­mu­nity within North Ko­rea, thereby pres­sur­ing the North Korean lead­er­ship to change di­rec­tion.

“It was a plea­sure to visit Pen­nant Hills and dis­cuss with mem­bers of the lo­cal com­mu­nity cur­rent de­vel­op­ments on the Korean penin­sula. North Ko­rea presents a grave threat to our re­gion. I’m pleased to see such a strong in­ter­est in Aus­tralia’s for­eign pol­icy and diplo­matic ac­tiv­i­ties,” Min­is­ter Bishop said.

The au­di­ence posed sev­eral in­sight­ful ques­tions to the Min­is­ter for For­eign Af­fairs, largely fo­cused on the long-term im­pacts of im­pos­ing sanc­tions on the North Korean econ­omy. I will con­tinue to speak out against North Ko­rea’s il­le­gal weapons pro­gram and ac­tively sup­port the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to bring peace and se­cu­rity to the re­gion.

For­eign Min­is­ter Julie Bishop, Berowra MP Ju­lian Leeser and Su­san Lee, Vice Pres­i­dent of ASEAN Na­tional Uni­fi­ca­tion Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil

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