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Australia has no choice but to prepare for a missile attack from North Korea, a former Pentagon nuclear weapons official warns.
Brad Roberts served as US deputy assistant secretary of defence for nuclear and missile defence policy is warning a weapon fired from North Korea could strike the country.
"Unfortunately, Australia doesn't really get to choose whether or not North Korea threatens it — it's the choice that the North Korean leader [Kim Jong-un] makes," he told the ABC.
"His objective is to make us fearful so that our leaders will not stand up to his threats and coercion."
The former Obama administration defence official also said that warships should be fitted with proper while pointing out that Australia’s radar defences were rather sparse.
"I don't think it's a large number of very expensive interceptors and radars deployed around the periphery of the Australian continent," he said.
The warning that Australia should ramp up its defences comes as China's commerce ministry said North Korean firms or joint ventures in China will be shut within the 120 days of the latest United Nations Security Council sanctions.
Overseas Chinese joint ventures with North Korean entities or individuals will also be closed, the ministry said in a statement on its website, not giving a time frame.
Government's plan to evacuate 200,000 Australians in Asia amid North Korea tensions
The UN Security Council voted unanimously on September 12 to boost sanctions on North Korea, banning its textile exports and capping fuel supplies.
The UN action was triggered by North Korea's sixth and largest nuclear test this month. It was the ninth Security Council sanctions resolution over North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs since 2006.
Beijing has been North Korea's closest major ally in recent years, but has been put under increasing pressure - notably from the United States - to take a stronger line with Pyongyang.
The UN sanctions also ban sales of natural gas to North Korea and purchases of the North's textile exports, another key revenue source.
China, which provides the bulk of North Korea's energy supplies, announced on Saturday it would cut off gas and limit shipments of refined petroleum products, effective January 1. It made no mention of crude, which makes up the bulk of Chinese energy supplies to North Korea and is not covered by the UN sanctions.
China also has banned imports of North Korean coal, iron and lead ore, and seafood since early September.
On Thursday, the commerce ministry defended its recent imports of North Korean coal as permitted by UN sanctions.
A ministry spokesman, Gao Feng, said imports that were reported in August were allowed by a "grace period" for goods that arrived before the UN ban took effect.
The imports are "in line with the (UN) resolution," Gao said.