North Korea has launched a barrage of threats and insults at Australia, accusing the nation of “blindly toeing the US line” and threatening Sydney with a nuclear strike.
The comments from Pyongyang came after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program posed a “serious threat” to Australia unless something was done about it by the international community.
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A spokesman for Kim Jong-un’s Foreign Ministry accused Australia of “spouting a string of rubbish” about North Korea, and warned against following the US.
“The present Government of Australia is blindly and zealously toeing the US line,” the spokesman said.
“If Australia persists in following the US’ moves to isolate and stifle North Korea … this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of North Korea.”
The North Korean Foreign Ministry also directly addressed Ms Bishop’s interview, warning she had “better think twice about the consequences to be entailed by her reckless tongue-lashing before flattering the US“.
“What she uttered can never be pardoned,” the spokesman said.
“It is hard to expect good words from the foreign minister of such a Government. But if she is the foreign minister of a country, she should speak with elementary common sense about the essence of the situation.”
“If they continue to flatter the US and provoke North Korea, we will tow Australia out to sea and sink it.”
— Vice President Mike Pence Archived (@VP45) April 22, 2017
The news coincides with Vice President Mike Pence’s first official visit to Australia.
9 News reports: The nuclear threat from North Korea, the ongoing fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group and the US-Australia refugee deal have dominated Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s official talks with Mike Pence.
The prime minister told reporters in Sydney the “reckless and dangerous regime (of Pyongyang) puts the peace and stability of our region at risk”.
Mr Turnbull echoed his comments earlier this week that China has a leverage to influence North Korea.
Mr Pence characterised North Korea as an “urgent and most dangerous threat” to peace and security in the Asia Pacific and thanks Mr Turnbull for calling on China to act.
“While all options are on the table, let me assure you the United States will continue to work closely with Australia, our other allies in the region and China to bring economic and diplomatic pressure to bear on the regime,” he said.
“If China is unable to deal with North Korea, the United States and our allies will.“