Sunrise, interview with David Koch

  • Transcript, E&OE

JOURNALIST: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop joins us from Canberra. Julie Bishop, are you sleeping well at night over this?

JULIE BISHOP: Kochie, our collective strategy has not changed and that is to place sufficient diplomatic pressure on North Korea so that it changes its illegal behaviour. That is what we are seeking to do by backing the sanctions that the UN Security Council has put in place, and through these economic pressures, we believe that North Korea can be deterred from its current course.

JOURNALIST: But it's not working though, is it?

JULIE BISHOP: The past decade of what was called "strategic patience" didn't work because it was during that period that North Korea apparently acquired the ability to develop a miniaturised nuclear device that is capable of being placed on an intercontinental ballistic missile. This is all in direct violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions. So North Korea, like every other nation on the planet, should abide by the international law, and that's why we're supporting the collective strategy to apply universal sanctions on North Korea so it will change its course.

JOURNALIST: How significant was it that China voted for this and agreed with it on the weekend in the UN as well, because they are really the only ones who can do anything about this, aren't they?

JULIE BISHOP: You are absolutely right. China has a deep financial relationship North Korea and the fact that China came on board and fully backed the most comprehensive, the toughest package of measures against North Korea was very significant. On Monday I was in Manila at the East Asia Summit. I spoke with the Chinese Foreign Minister, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Japanese Foreign Minister, the South Korean Foreign Minister and we all agreed that there has to be universal support for these economic sanctions. Australia has in place our own autonomous sanctions, against over 30 individuals and 30 entities, so we are assisting in bringing pressure to bear on North Korea.

JOURNALIST: Just quickly, Cassie Sainsbury, the Aussie charged in Colombia on drug charges, in court at the moment. Her family rejected any diplomatic help from your staff to handle the media. If she is convicted, would we apply to do a swap for her to come back here and serve her sentence?

JULIE BISHOP: Kochie, she is legally represented, she has got a legal team there. Our consular staff have been providing consular assistance and they are at court in case she needs any support, as we would do for any Australian in this situation. We have to understand the nature of her proceedings at this point. It is not clear to me whether she is seeking a plea bargain or if she is going to change her plea. Once we know the outcome of the hearings then we can look at what can happen next. But it is a very strong message to all Australians travelling overseas: you have got to abide by the laws of the country you are visiting.

JOURNALIST: Yeah, it is just stupid, isn't it? Alright Julie, thank you for joining us. Good to see you.

JULIE BISHOP: Thanks Kochie.

- Ends -

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