Sky News, the Morning Shift - Interview with Laura Jayes

  • Transcript, E&OE
13 September 2017

JOURNALIST: Joining me now is the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Thank you so much for your time. What do you make of Donald Trump's immediate reaction to these sanctions? And also we've heard from Kim Jong Un who has sent that very dire warning.

JULIE BISHOP: Well as to the warning from Kim Jong Un, on this scale of threats and intimidation and insults, it's probably just par for the course from North Korea over decades.

But the additional sanctions that were imposed by the UN Security Council are a very important measure because it represents the unanimous view of the entire Security Council. 15 members – that's the permanent five, plus 10 temporary members, all voted in favour of significant additional significant economic sanctions on North Korea.

So this reflects the international community's view that we need to put maximum economic pressure on North Korea to make it change its calculation of risk, change its behaviour, deter it from carrying out further tests – illegal tests – and bring it back to the negotiating table.

JOURNALIST: This is not quite maximum pressure though is it? Because these sanctions have been watered down from a previous proposal in order to get Russia and China particularly on board. And this was canvassed in the conversation Mr Turnbull had with his South Korean counterpart earlier this week.

JULIE BISHOP: The sanctions come on top of the 5th of August sanctions and they were the toughest and most comprehensive set of sanctions that had been imposed on North Korea to date. Now we have these additional sanctions, just nine days after North Korea carried out its sixth illegal and most potent nuclear test, but these sanctions are on top of the 5th of August sanctions. They comprise a complete ban of the export of textiles from North Korea, that's worth almost a billion dollars a year to North Korea. It reduces significantly the amount of oil by about a third, the amount of oil that North Korea can import. Now the US is looking for more –

JOURNALIST: Oil is the key here, isn't it?


JOURNALIST: This would seem if reduction by a third would seem that if the international community and the UN does have a bit more power up its sleeve to further impose sanctions on oil. But are these sanctions going to make a difference? Because we've seen already the reaction from Kim Jong Un and already Donald Trump casting doubt that this will work this time.

JULIE BISHOP: Sanctions must work if the entire international community implement them fully, and Australia will most certainly and is implementing fully all the UN sanctions as well as autonomous sanctions that we've imposed separately. But every nation, particularly those that have an economic relationship with North Korea must fully implement these sanctions – and they will have an impact. They will hit North Korea and they will hit it hard. The issue about oil was a concern by some nations that to completely ban the import of oil would mean the total collapse of the regime, and there would have to be contingency plans in place for that, if it were to occur. So this is ratcheting up the pressure…

JOURNALIST: In the discussions you've had, are those contingencies already being talked about?

JULIE BISHOP: There are very wide ranging discussions between the members of the Security Council. I will be attending the UN General Assembly Leader's Week next week in New York. This will bring together the leaders and foreign ministers of all 190 odd UN member states, and North Korea I can assure you will be a topic of much discussion amongst the various groupings.

JOURNALIST: Absolutely. Let's just return home quickly and look at the CET and the energy debate. As Foreign Minister you obviously have the Paris target in the back or front of mind. Can you meet the Paris Agreement without the Clean Energy Target?

JULIE BISHOP: Well the Clean Energy Target was a recommendation of the Finkel Review. We have accepted 49 of the 50 recommendations of the Finkel Review, and remember that was commissioned in the wake of the September – well it was commissioned in September 2016 in the wake of black outs in South Australia, and Alan Finkel our Chief Scientist came up with 50 recommendations. We've accepted 49 of them.

JOURNALIST: This is the one outstanding.

JULIE BISHOP: This is the subject of internal discussion within the Government, we're still considering it, it is a complex matter, but we need to ensure, and we are aiming to provide the Australian people with affordable and reliable power that's low emissions.

JOURNALIST: My understanding is, and you can see from the language publically used by the Prime Minister and Josh Frydenberg that there seems to be a move away from a CET. Not abandoning it all together but perhaps refashioning it in the wake of the AEMO report and from your Coalition partners, The Nationals, there's not a lot of love for this CET you'd have to say. So, am I wrong?

JULIE BISHOP: Well that's not how I would describe the internal discussion at all. We are the party, or we are the government of affordable, reliable, low emissions energy, and that's what we're doing.

JOURNALIST: But affordable, reliable is the emphasis now, not so much low emissions.

JULIE BISHOP: We have international obligations and we are committed to meeting our international obligations, but affordable, reliable, low emissions electricity generation is what we're seeking to achieve.

JOURNALIST: Can you do it without a CET?

JULIE BISHOP: Well we're talking about a CET, that's a recommendation of the Finkel Review. We've not ever said we're not embracing that recommendation, but it is a complex one and it's a subject of much discussion within the Government.

JOURNALIST: Ok Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, thank you for your time. And we'll speak to you after you go to the UN as well.

JULIE BISHOP: Thanks Laura.

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