Australia will join conflict if North Korea attacks US

Australia will come to the aid of the United States if North Korea launches an attack, Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed.

The prime minister discussed the unfolding situation with US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday night.

"We have an ANZUS agreement and if there is an attack on Australia or the United States, then each of us will come to the other's aid," Mr Turnbull told 3AW radio on Friday.

"In terms of defence we are joined at the hip."

Malcolm Turnbull announced Australia will fight with US if North Korea attacks. Source: AAP

Asked about Tony Abbott's call for Australia to urgently consider a missile defence system, Mr Turnbull said the country is constantly reviewing its position.

He said the advice from defence is that there is no benefit in deploying a US-style 'Terminal High Altitude Area Defence' (THAD) system.

"The reason for that is that the THAD is designed to provide protection for relatively small areas against short-to-intermediate range missiles," he said.

The US vice-president again told the prime minister that the US sees the best way to resolve the situation as being through economic sanctions, despite Donald Trump's threats of "fire and fury".

Kim Jung Un. Photo: AAP

"That is the preferred way to deal with it, but of course if North Korea decides to carry out some of its violent threats then obviously terrible consequences will follow," Mr Turnbull said.

This news follows yet another war of words between North Korea and the US, both telling the other they will essentially destroy them if necessary.

North Korea has vowed to “mercilessly wipe out the provocateurs” and hand the US a “shameful defeat and final doom” in its latest statement while President Donald Trump underscored his threat to rain "fire and fury" on Kim Jong-Un, saying the stark warning maybe "wasn't tough enough."

President Donald Trump said his warning was perhaps

Labor leader Bill Shorten believes nations need to concentrate on encouraging Pyongyang to de-escalate tensions.

"The big concern is actually not the United States, it's the bellicose and provocative actions of the North Korean dictatorship," he told reporters in Canberra.

Mr Shorten insists the government and opposition share the same concerns about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's pursuit of nuclear missiles.

"Australians should be reassured that on this matter of North Korea and our national security, the politics of Labor and Liberal are working absolutely together," he said.