Interview with Karl Stefanovic - Today Show, Nine

  • Transcript, E&OE
13 June 2018

KARLSTEFANOVIC: ForeignMinister Julie Bishop joins me now. Good morning to you about Julie.

JULIEBISHOP: Goodmorning, Karl.

KARLSTEFANOVIC: Whatjust about Trumpy on the world stage historic just getting stuff done?

JULIEBISHOP: Thisis an historic event. It is the first has time that a sitting US President hasmet with a North Korean leader and now they have committed to a lasting andstable peace on the Korean Peninsula and North Korea has committed todenuclearisation. We hope to see the end of the Korean War. It is quite anextraordinary outcome.

KARLSTEFANOVIC: Anymore briefed details to share? Have you been briefed by US officials yet?

JULIEBISHOP: No,there is no more detail. The President gave that lengthy press conferenceafter, and a number of issues were raised but the Declaration is quitesuccinct. There are four elements to it but there is very little detail aboutit. So there's a long road is ahead. There will be lengthy dialogue, diplomaticwork that still needs to be done to flesh out the detail of the Declaration.

KARLSTEFANOVIC: I willsay it - we can can't seriously trust North Korea though can we after onemeeting? Some sweet and sour pork and a handshake with Donald Trump?

JULIEBISHOP: We arecautiously optimistic but we know that we have seen this before. Maybe not thetheatre and the pageantry around it but we have certainly seen North Korea makecommitments that they have broken. They have even signed agreements that theyhave walked away from. The test of this will be in the verification of the denuclearisationand there is no detail yet around how North Korea will commit to theverification of the denuclearisation. In the past the United States has saidthat there must be complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement of theirnuclear weapons program and that is what we will be testing, to see if they areprepared to live up to that.

KARLSTEFANOVIC: Do youtrust Kim Jong-un?

JULIEBISHOP: ClearlyI have never met him. The President has, but his past record doesn't fill onewith a great deal of confidence. It is a very brutal regime. The human rightssituation in North Korea is appalling.


He has gone back on promises in the past but we will now see the test.Is he prepared to live up to the Declaration that he has now signed and beforethe entire world?

KARLSTEFANOVIC: That'sright. I mean,how do you trustNorth Korea to keep a deal that is so vague?

JULIEBISHOP: Thatis going to be the challenge now, from now on. The diplomatic work now begins andthat includes on the issue of denuclearisation but also other issues like therepatriation of the war dead. In fact, we take a particular interest in that - thereare 43 Australians deemed to be missing in action in Korea and we have made diplomaticrepresentations in the past to no avail, so perhaps this is the beginning of anew dawn.

KARLSTEFANOVIC: And thepoint is if the US pulled out of the Iran deal that was specific, so specific,how do we have any to confidence either side will stick to a deal that is solose?

JULIEBISHOP: Thatwas always a concern with the United States pulling out of the Iran dealbecause the deal had in fact been endorsed by the UN Security Council. In thecase of North Korea, it will be a question of wait and see. Will North Koreacommit to a complete denuclearisation which would then enable peace to progresson the Korean Peninsula? Of course, the sanctions remain in place. This is whatbrought North Korea to the negotiating table in the first place, and Australiahas played our part in imposing sanctions. We have been in fact even beeninvolved in implementing the sanctions when we sent a surveillance plane toJapan recently to ensure that the sanctions were kept in place. That economicpressure on North Korea is one of the major reasons that it has come to thenegotiating table.

KARLSTEFANOVIC: Sospecifically under what circumstances would you support lifting thosesanctions?

JULIEBISHOP: Wewould have to see the complete denuclearisation, that is, North Korea wouldhave to abide by those numerous UN Security Council resolutions that banned itsillegal ballistic missile tests and also the nuclear weapons program. When theindependent inspectors verify that there has been complete denuclearisation thenI believe the sanctions could be lifted.

KARLSTEFANOVIC: Youare keen for us to get involved in that process, aren't you? How likely is thatto happen?

JULIEBISHOP: TheInternational Atomic Energy Agency put out a statement overnight. The Director General,Amano said that the IAEA stood ready to verify the denuclearisation process.Australia has expertise, Australians have been involved in this sort of workbefore and I believe it is appropriate that we should offer our services,should they be needed.

KARLSTEFANOVIC: One ofthe more disturbing parts of this, depending on which way you look at it, isthe US is pulling out of these war games in South Korea. Is there anylikelihood of US pulling personnel out of South Korea altogether? We certainlydon't want them to go that far do we?

JULIEBISHOP: Thatwould be a very big step and none of that is contained in the Declaration. Ifyou look at the four points of the Declaration it doesn't say anything aboutthe presence of US troops on the Korean Peninsula. Of course that is a matterbetween the United States and South Korea, the presence of US troops there.Some of the statements that President Trump made in the press conference afterthe signing of the Declaration were not contained in the Declaration. So wewill have to focus on that detail, but first I think North Korea needs to showthat it is genuine. It needs to take concrete and verifiable steps to show thatit is denuclearising, that it is going to be abide by the numerous US SecurityCouncil Resolutions that require it to give up its ballistic missile testingand its nuclear weapons program.

KARLSTEFANOVIC: Theeyes of the world were on it yesterday and they were looking on in wonder, andsome level of wonder and part of us all thought it was an episode of theKardashians as well. Where did you stand?

JULIEBISHOP: It wascompelling viewing I have to say. The first time we have seen a sitting USPresident meet with a North Korean leader, and of course only a few months agothey were trading insults, and now this kind of rapport that has been builtbetween them, but if this means peace on the Korean Peninsula, if this meansrelief from the suffering of the people of North Korea, if this means endingthe threat of a nuclear attack then it has all been worth it.

KARLSTEFANOVIC: Hear,hear. Foreign Minister thanks for your time as always.


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