Tony Abbott has used a visit to the demilitarised zone bordering South and North Korea to warn of the threat posed by the hermit kingdom.
The Prime Minister’s visit to the DMZ came amid reports that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un had executed an uncle by flamethrower.
South Korea has been worried in recent weeks by Pyongyang’s testing of dozens of missiles and its recent use of unmanned drones.
Mr Abbott visited a blue building at the centre of the DMZ on the 38th Parallel called T2.
This building was where the armistice was signed in 1953, ending the three-year Korean War.
North Korean soldiers took pictures of the PM and his entourage through the windows of T2.
At one stage outside the building, the PM came within metres of North Korean soldiers.
Mr Abbott described the area as the “tensest border on Earth”.
“On the South Korean side we have freedom, we have justice, we have democracy,” Mr Abbott said.
“On the North Korean side we have an outlaw state which is a threat to world peace and is a deadly danger to South Korea.”
He said it was important to remember the 17,000 Australians who fought in the Korean War and the almost 400 Aussies who died in the conflict.
Mr Abbott also paid respect to the Korean and American soldiers stationed along the border with North Korea, saying they were “continuing to guard our freedom”.
The United States has an estimated 20,000 troops along the border with North Korea.
A US official said DMZ was the last remnants of the Cold War.
“We maintain our readiness capability for what we call fight tonight,” he said.