Triple M Adelaide Breakfast interview with Roo and Ditts

  • Transcript, E&OE
04 September 2017

JOURNALIST: It's very good of Julie Bishop to join us at this time this morning because she is taking calls right around the nation. Foreign Minister, a very good morning to you! Welcome to Triple M and thanks for taking our call.

JULIE BISHOP: Good morning.

JOURNALIST: Obviously as far as the world is concerned at the moment, we are facing, I don't know, some very hard decisions to make, I would've thought, between us and the US and Japan and South Korea. I mean, this guy seems to be a bit out of control.

JULIE BISHOP: Most certainly this latest test appears to be exponentially more powerful than previous tests by North Korea, and it's a very dangerous and serious escalation. We can't verify whether or not it was a hydrogen bomb but nevertheless, it was a much more powerful weapon than in past tests. We all know that these ballistic missile and nuclear weapons tests have been banned by the UN Security Council and so this is just the latest of many direct challenges to the authority of the Security Council. So North Korea will have to pay a significant price for its defiance of the Security Council, and that means the entire international community must strictly enforce economic sanctions against it.

JOURNALIST: We've already said that though, haven't we? Where do we actually… what's he trying to prove, what's he trying to achieve out of what he's been doing for the last few months?

JULIE BISHOP: Well what he wants to do is advance his country's illegal capabilities and test the resolve of our region and the international community. That's why we need a collective approach across the international community and impose really touch, comprehensive sanctions against North Korea to block access to finance so it can't fund these illegal weapons.

JOURNALIST: Who's going to do that though, Julie? Who are we waiting for to do something here? Is it China, is it?

JULIE BISHOP: Well China is the most significant economic partner for North Korea. China has backed the tough, comprehensive package of sanctions but there's more we can do. I know that the United States is looking at broader sanctions and I feel sure that China and indeed Russia know that this will get out of control unless they take a very firm stance now to compel North Korea to change its behaviour and deter it from carrying out any more tests.

JOURNALIST: Foreign Minister, I know a lot of this information would be classified, but have you yourself been on the phone overnight to China? Are you talking to their Foreign Minister on a daily basis?

JULIE BISHOP: We are talking constantly to friends and partners in the region and we will continue to do so at every level.

JOURNALIST: Is South Korea under serious threat at the moment?

JULIE BISHOP: South Korea is mere kilometres away from the North Korean border, and of course any tensions on the Korean Peninsula directly affect South Korea. South Korea is an ally of the United States and of course the United States has said that should any of its partners and allies be under direct attack, the United States would respond. This is a very serious escalation of a very tense situation. North Korea is a threat to regional and global peace and security, so it is vital that all nations enforce the penalties and the isolation of North Korea as mandated by the UN Security Council.

JOURNALIST: Yeah, Julie Bishop, we know you have to go. Thank you so much for taking our call. Thank you.

JULIE BISHOP: Good to talk to you, Roo and Ditts.

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