Channel 7, Sunrise - interview with Samantha Armytage

  • Transcript, E&OE
19 September 2017

JOURNALIST: Julie Bishop joins us now from New York. good morning, thank you for your time. Now, Donald Trump overnight - we just ran some of that - he has called for massive reform of the United Nations. He has been quite critical of the way it is racked with bureaucracy and mismanagement. He has not spoken about North Korea yet, just about the UN. Do you agree with his assessment that the UN needs an overhaul?

JULIE BISHOP: The Australian government has supported the United States' calls for reform of the UN as did about 120 other countries. I attended the event here in the United Nations in New York when the President made his speech about reforming the United Nations - and we agreed that it should be more effective. For many, many decades there has been concern about the way the UN has operated, so if there are ideas about how it can be made more efficient then we certainly support them. I note that the Secretary-General of the United Nations was also present and he agreed to work with the US and other nations to make the UN more relevant and more contemporary.

JOURNALIST: Now, he is going to address the problem of North Korea tonight in the United Nations. What are you expecting him to say? How tough will his talk be?

JULIE BISHOP: The President is yet to make this national statement so we don't know precisely what issues he will address, but because North Korea is the topic of much conversation here we expect that much of his speech will be about how to deal with North Korea. Sanctions have only just been imposed on North Korea and we believe that it can be deterred from its illegal behaviour if maximum diplomatic, political and economic pressure is brought to bear on North Korea. I'm sure the President will reiterate that all options remain on the table but we must give sanctions an opportunity to work to deter North Korea from its provocative and risky and dangerous actions.

JOURNALIST: At a meeting of the General Assembly like this, do you your contemporaries talk on the sidelines about North Korea and have your own ways of how to solve this issue?

JULIE BISHOP: Most certainly, some of the most important business done at the United Nations is done at side meetings with foreign ministers and leaders when we get an opportunity in a more informal environment to talk very frankly and openly about our concerns. North Korea is one issue being discussed, as is the matter in Myanmar with the Rohingyas in Rakhine State, as is as counterterrorism more generally. There are many issues that we discuss on the sidelines but there are also set meetings where Australia – and I will be representing Australia - will make our views known and give our opinion and our statement on what we think should happen. I will be speaking to the General Assembly on Friday and I will also address the issue of North Korea and how I believe we can deter North Korea from its current dangerous, threatening and illegal behaviour.

JOURNALIST: Excellent, alright now minister let's talk about China quickly. China's been critical of Australia with warships heading to military exercises in the South China Sea. Has this been raised with you in New York and is now the time to be getting China offside when we want its help to deal with North Korea?

JULIE BISHOP: It has not been raised with me. Australia has a long history of engagement with regional navies. Throughout the region we have been carrying out naval exercises in our region for decades, including with China. This is a part of what the Australian Navy does, we carry out exercises and visit ports in the region and another exercise will be carried out shortly. This has been in the planning for quite some time so I don't expect it to be raised with me here in New York.

JOURNALIST: Ok, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop thank you for your time we wish you all the best at the United Nations.

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