North Korea threatens Australia, Julie Bishop with nuclear strike

North Korea has bluntly warned Australia of a possible nuclear strike if Canberra persists in "blindly and zealously toeing the US line".

 

North Korea's state new agency (KCNA) on Saturday quoted a foreign ministry spokesman castigating Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop after she "spouted a string of rubbish" against the the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"If Australia persists in following the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the US master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK," the report said.

North Korea has warned Julie Bishop after she "spouted a string of rubbish". Photo: AAP

Soldiers in tanks are paraded across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade on Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung. Photo: AAP

Soldiers march across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade on Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung. Photo: AAP

"The Australian foreign minister had better think twice about the consequences to be entailed by her reckless tongue-lashing before flattering the US."

Ms Bishop said on Thursday that the sanctions were to send "the clearest possible message to North Korea, that its behaviour will not be tolerated, that a nuclear-armed North Korea is not acceptable to our region".

She also urged China to step up pressure on North Korea to stamp out its belligerent and illegal behaviour.

In the report from Pyongyang, the North Korean ministry spokesman accused the Australian government of "blindly and zealously toeing the US line" and said Ms Bishop had "better think twice" about the consequences of her "reckless tongue-lashing".

US Vice President Mike Pence with Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Photo: AAP

NK has said if Australia continues on its path with the US it will be a "suicidal act". Photo: AAP

US Vice-President Mike Pence is in Australia and the threat of North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles programs were high on the agenda in talks with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Labor's defence spokesman Richard Marles says North Korea's threat of a nuclear strike on Australia is of enormous concern but such threats have become part of the regime's day-to-day rhetoric.

Mr Marles said North Korea's statement was a matter of enormous concern, but noted Pyongyang had made similar threats to other nations, even a veiled one at China.

But he did not believe conflict on the Korean peninsula was particularly likely and backed the approach the US has taken on North Korea.

"I do think a harder edge being presented by America in respect of North Korea is not a bad thing," Mr Marles told Sky News on Sunday.

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