Today Show, interview with Karl Stefanovic

  • Transcript, E&OE
30 August 2017

JOURNALIST: Julie Bishop joins us. He has threatened fire and fury and he has been offered an olive branch. None of it is working.

JULIE BISHOP: Karl, the collective strategy is to impose more pressure on North Korea through political, diplomatic and economic means. The toughest and most comprehensive set of sanctions are about to bite and I believe that this will have a significant impact on North Korea and its ability to raise revenues to fund these illegal weapons program. The United States has said that all options are on the table and that's been the case for some time. It has certainly been the strategy of previous US administrations. We must exhaust all political and diplomatic and economic options first.

JOURNALIST: Their nuclearisation is speeding up. Their boldness is increasing and the North Korean Ambassador to the UN says they won't flinch an inch with the greatest respect he doesn't give a toss about Donald Trump or us.

JULIE BISHOP: That is not right. The consequences of North Korea attacking another country would be catastrophic for North Korea and North Korea needs to understand that the United States will defend its allies. That includes Japan and South Korea, and Australia like-wise relies on the extended deterrence, that is the nuclear umbrella, of the United States. So North Korea has been down this path before, but they ultimately get to the negotiating table. The question is what does North Korea want this time, and what are the conditions under which negotiations can commence?

JOURNALIST: Do we negotiate with someone who fired a missile over an ally.

JULIE BISHOP: North Korea has done this before. They have fired missiles over Japan in the past, some years ago. This is of course a provocative and dangerous act. It is illegal, it is in direct defiance of numerous UN Security Council resolutions. And the UN Security Council must assert its authority and that includes implementing comprehensively the sanctions against North Korea which include banning exports from North Korea and banning North Korean workers going overseas to earn money to send money back to North Korea to fund its illegal programs. These sanctions must be allowed to work.

JOURNALIST: He is not going to budge though.

JULIE BISHOP: I don't accept that North Korea can't be deterred. In fact in my conversations with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as recently as last Friday, he is also of the view that North Korea can be deterred. It will take time and some patience and determination on the part of the international community to implement the sanctions comprehensively so North Korea can't evade them as they have been in the past.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible] Let's move on if you can and talk about this. Have you got any more information on the six Chinese Nationals who arrived on Saibai Island on August 20. What has happened to those Nationals?

JULIE BISHOP: I understand that they are before the court. We have detected a boatload of people coming to Australia. We have very good border security strategies in place and these people have been detected. They have been charged with various offences but Australia maintains a very tough line against the illegal entry into Australia of people and of course against any form of transnational crime.

JOURNALIST: Could be a new wave, a different way of doing it. Are you concerned this will be start of…

JULIE BISHOP: I understand that they were from China and have been deported back to China. Then there was one Papua New Guinean involved. So I don't think it is a new wave. It is a different category altogether.

JOURNALIST: Moving on, just finally there has been a heed heated reaction to an anti-gay marriage ad played last night. I'm not sure whether you have seen it but you might be able to listen to it right now.

…Audio of television advertisement…

JOURNALIST: Minister, isn't this the very kind of thing we were trying to avoid, this kind of heated debate.

JULIE BISHOP: Well let me make two points. Had Labor backed our plebiscite legislation in the first place this would have been over last February. If Labor backed same-sex marriage when it was in government, but it didn't, this debate would have been over.

JOURNALIST: That makes it OK?

JULIE BISHOP: I think it is up to those organisations and those individuals who put forward such an ad to defend the accuracy or otherwise of their publications.

JOURNALIST: Foreign Minister you have a lot on your plate at the moment. We also appreciate your time. Thank you.

JULIE BISHOP: Thanks Karl.

- Ends -

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