Sunrise, interview with David Koch

  • Transcript, E&OE

JOURNALIST: Australia is also calling on China to back UN sanctions against North Korea. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop joins me now in studio this morning. Good morning to you. Any kid doing modern history knows that world wars start with a lot less than this. He's just not listening.

JULIE BISHOP: The collective strategy is to increase the political, diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea so that it changes its own risk calculation in relation to its illegal behaviour. It is in direct defiance of numerous security resolutions but now we have in place the toughest, most comprehensive set of sanctions that are yet to bite on North Korea that will impact its ability to raise revenue to fund these illegal missiles.

JOURNALIST: China has up signed for sanctions?

JULIE BISHOP: As has Russia. In the past, North Korea has been able to evade these sanctions. They have been against individuals and entities connected to the missile program. Now these are sector wide sanctions banning all exports of North Korean coal, its largest export item, lead, iron ore, seafood. This is worth billions of dollars.

JOURNALIST: Which mainly goes to China. So they are saying we are going to cut this off?

JULIE BISHOP: That's right.

JOURNALIST: So those sanctions aren't biting. When will they start to bite?

JULIE BISHOP: They were imposed on 5 August. It was a unanimous vote at the UN Security Council so that included China and Russia and they both said that they will commit to implementing the sanctions in full. Countries have 30 days to get their own legislation in place. So at the beginning of September we will start see the impact. It also includes a ban on North Korean workers going overseas to earn remittances that they send back to the regime to fund the programs.

JOURNALIST: Is he talking to anyone? Does anyone talk directly to him at the moment or is he just not answering the phone?

JULIE BISHOP: My understanding is that he is now listening and the fact that he did not go ahead with the ballistic test over Guam shows that he is listening.

JOURNALIST: But he sent it over Japan?

JULIE BISHOP: He still being provocative. It is dangerous, risky, threatening behaviour and that is why the collective strategy of imposing the toughest sanctions on North Korea must be allowed to work.

JOURNALIST: So have you set a deadline to say that if he does not change say by the end of the year, then, as Donald Trump says, all the other options will be considered including military intervention?

JULIE BISHOP: What we must do is exhaust all the diplomatic, political and economic options first.

JOURNALIST: Have you set a deadline for that?

JULIE BISHOP: There's not a deadline on that because these things can take time. There are many people around the world working on exerting that political, economic and diplomatic pressure. I do make the point that these are the toughest sanctions ever, these are unprecedented against North Korea. It will have an impact.

JOURNALIST: I can remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. I just started school and we used to do exercises where you would hide under your desk. Are we going to return to that sort of thing?

JULIE BISHOP: We're not at that point. There is a long way to go in working with North Korea. It is seeking to increase its leverage for negotiations with the United States.

JOURNALIST: Would you back military action? If Donald Trump says right, I'm sending in the troops and gives you a call, would you say yes?

JULIE BISHOP: You have to consider the catastrophic consequences of military action. We are dealing with a nation that has some kind of ballistic missile or nuclear capability in North Korea and we're talking about the United States, which has massive nuclear capability. Any conventional military action would be catastrophic because of the proximity of North and South Korea for a start. The thought of nuclear options is just… well, it is unthinkable.

JOURNALIST: Let'shope the sanctions work. Julie Bishop, thanks for joining us.

- Ends -

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