Mix 94.5 Breakfast, interview with Clairsy, Matt and Kymba

  • Transcript, E&OE
30 August 2017

CLAIRSY: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, a good West Aussie joins us. Julie, good morning.

JULIE BISHOP: Good morning, how are you today?

KYMBA: We're good. Julie, it's not unusual for world leaders to pump out their chest a little bit but when nuclear is involved it's a bit more serious. Can North Korea actually be reasoned with?

JULIE BISHOP: I believe that North Korea can be deterred. We must remember that the tensions on the Korean Peninsula are entirely the responsibility of North Korea because it is in direct defiance of multiple UN Security Council resolutions declaring that its ballistic missile tests and nuclear weapons programs are illegal. The collective strategy of a number of countries including the United States, Japan, South Korea and others is to impose and fully implement sector-wide economic sanctions on North Korea. To date the sanctions have been against individuals and have been rather haphazard in its implementation and North Korea's been evading them. Look, we know we have a regime of much stronger economic sanctions that are about to bite and North Korea will learn that it will pay a penalty for its illegal behaviour.

MATT: Foreign Minister, are we overreacting? I mean, it sounds like a stupid thing to say because obviously it's very serious but anecdotally, coming out of friends of ours in South Korea and Japan are going 'we've heard all this before', but we in Australia and the US seem to be taking it extremely seriously. Is the truth somewhere in the middle?

JULIE BISHOP: Well, clearly when another country fires a ballistic missile over the territory over an adjoining country it's a very provocative, threatening, dangerous act. Imagine if there had been a mishap or a miscalculation, and it had landed on Japanese territory. It didn't, but clearly the Japanese were tracking it and they assessed the trajectory of the missile and saw that it was not going to land on Japanese territory. North Korea is known for this kind of behaviour. The difference is that it is now acquiring a capability to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile and they may have the capability to develop a miniaturised nuclear device to attach to that missile, so they've upped the ante. But at the end of the day, Kim Jong Un wants his regime to survive and he wants to maximise the leverage he has in negotiating some kind of peace deal with the United States, China and others. He's going to continue to ramp up the pressure, but as I say, the collective strategy is to impose the greatest political, diplomatic and economic pressure the world can muster on North Korea to make it change its calculation of the risks attached to its behaviour.

CLAIRSY: So Julie at this stage are you confident that they will eventually just come to the table and we'll be able to move forward?

JULIE BISHOP: I believe that the United States, China, Russia, and the other members of the UN Security Council will use whatever avenues they can to bring North Korea to the negotiating table. You see, North Korea is in direct defiance of the UN Security Council authority and the nations making up the permanent 5 members of the UN Security Council can't afford to have a rogue nation thumb its nose at the UN Security Council – this underpins the international rules based order that guarantees relative peace and stability around the world. So there are countries with a great deal at stake here and they will be working together, and Australia will be certainly supporting the efforts to bring maximum pressure to bear on North Korea to stop its ballistic missile testing, nuclear weapons testing and come to the negotiating table.

We've also done things like agree to a ban on new work visas for North Korean labourers who used to go into China and elsewhere, earn revenue and send it back to the regime for its illegal programs. Now that sort of illegal revenue will be cut off. We're banning all exports of North Korean coal, that's its largest export, as well as iron ore and lead and seafood. This is worth billions of dollars over time for North Korea so it's going to strip them of the revenue that they were using to fund their illegal tests.

KYMBA: Well, North Korea may be known for this kind of behaviour but you know, given that Donald Trump has shown that he often sees a lot of things as a personal attack, is that going to cause our biggest problem around the world?

JULIE BISHOP: The United States Administration have reiterated that their policy is to have all options on the table including military options, and that's not just President Trump. Previous Presidents have also embraced that strategy to say all options are on the table and of course the United States as the world's greatest military power has some clout in that regard.

I think North Korea is seeking to maximise its leverage when it finally sits down at the negotiating table. We have been down this path before. The difference is the scale and tempo and momentum behind North Korea's illegal nuclear weapons program and ballistic missile testing.

MATT: Now, Foreign Minister, on another really important issue, can Port Adelaide be negotiated with by the Eagles? Will the Security Council be voting on that at any stage?

JULIE BISHOP: We are voting for a huge Eagles win against Port Adelaide, in Adelaide, on the 9th and I think that all Eagles supporters out there should "dare to dream".

CLAIRSY: Spoken by the Number 1 Ticket Holder, thank you very much!

JULIE BISHOP: I am somewhat biased. I think the game on the weekend was a terrific indication of what the Eagles are capable of achieving and wouldn't it be magnificent to see the boys go all the way through to the Grand Final?

CLAIRSY: Well, the Bulldogs did it against the odds last year, you never know. Hey, Julie Bishop thanks for your time, we know you're flat out this morning.

JULIE BISHOP: My pleasure, cheers.

- Ends -

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