Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s Karina Lester at United Nations conference on a nuclear weapons ban treaty

South Australian woman Karina Lester presents anti-nuclear speech to United Nations in New York Erin Jones, The AdvertiserJune 23, 2017 

KARINA Lester’s family remembers the ground shaking and a black mist rolling towards them when nuclear tests were carried out at Emu Field, in the state’s Far North. The residents of Walatina community, 150km south of the explosion, were given no notice of the British tests, in 1953, but they would suffer from lifelong health affects.

Her father, Yankunytjatjara elder Yami Lester, became blind as a result of the testing, while others suffered skin infections, auto-immune diseases and severe vomiting.

Ms Lester shared the poignant story with world leaders in New York this month in a four minute address to the United Nations conference on a nuclear weapons ban treaty. “It was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to present to the UN,” Ms Lester said. “It’s really important to be able to share these stories otherwise we forget. “We learn so much about world wars but we don’t hear the history of what happened here.”

The treaty talks have been supported by more than 120 countries, but Australia and those with nuclear powers, including Russia and the United States have boycotted the conference.

Countries which signed the treaty would be forbidden from developing or manufacturing nuclear weapons and they would need to get rid of any weapons they already possess.

“It was disappointing as an Australian person to speak about what happened in our own backyard, when your country wasn’t even in the room,” Ms Lester said.

“This is an opportunity for nations to get together and completely ban nuclear weapons, instead of spending trillions of dollars to improve their technology.”

Ms Lester, of North Plympton, also took part in sessions with Hiroshima survivors to further share stories of the how nuclear weapons affect humanity.

“You can’t help but be moved when you hear those stories from people who survived and what they remember from when the blast when off,” she said.

 The 42-year-old senior Aboriginal language worker has advocated against nuclear testing since she was a teenager and, more recently, fought against the Australian Government’s plan for an international waste dump in SA.

Talks on the global treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons conclude on July 7.

June 26, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Ukraine uranium sales plan: Unreasonable, unstable and unsafe

In a statement tabled in the Senate last night, the Turnbull government has confirmed it will seek to proceed with selling Uranium to Ukraine despite significant safety and security concerns raised by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.

Uranium exports to Ukraine

“Australia, the nation that fuelled Fukushima should not sell uranium to the country that gave us Chernobyl,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Dave Sweeney.

In February a JSCOT investigation found that existing safeguards were ‘not sufficient’ and there was a risk Australian nuclear material would disappear off the radar in Ukraine.

The government has ignored JSCOT’s recommended pre-conditions around risk assessment and recovery of nuclear materials and is looking to advance the deal despite the risks of war, civil unrest and nuclear insecurity in the eastern European country, which is involved in hostilities with Russia.

“The treaties committee’s report found ‘Australian nuclear material should never be placed in a situation where there is a risk that regulatory control of the material will be lost’, yet this is exactly what could happen under the deeply inadequate checks and balances that apply to exported Australian uranium,” said Mr Sweeney.

“JSCOT recommended the Australian government undertake a detailed and proper risk assessment and develop an effective contingency plan for the removal of ‘at risk’ Australian nuclear material prior to any sales deal.

“Unreasonably and irresponsibly the government response fails to credibly address this. Australia should be very cautious about providing nuclear fuel to an already tense geo-political situation in eastern Europe.

“Ukraine’s nuclear sector is plagued by serious and unresolved safety, security and governance issues.

“Two-thirds of Ukraine’s aging fleet of 15 nuclear reactors will be past its design lifetime use-by date in just four years.

“This is an insecure and unsafe industrial sector in a highly uncertain part of the world. Australian uranium directly fuelled Fukushima and this deeply inadequate response shows the government has learnt little and cares less”.

June 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, reference, uranium | 1 Comment

Senator Scott Ludlam asks inconvenient questions about Australia’s role in nuclear weapons ban negotiations

Senator LUDLAM: …I want to turn to the opening day of the nuclear weapons ban treaty negotiations, 27 March this year. Having failed to prevent these negotiations occurring, the Trump administration’s ambassador to the UN held a protest outside the UN General Assembly Hall. Did Australia participate in the protest?

Senator LUDLAM: So we just stood there in mute solidarity with the Trump administration? As 130 UN member states started serious work on negotiating a nuclear weapons ban treaty, we were outside the room in a protest?

It is a shame that there will be no Australian representatives at the UN because these talks are scheduled to conclude at the end of June or early July

FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE LEGISLATION COMMITTEE, UN – Nuclear Weapons Ban, 31st May 2017,%20Defence%20and%20Trade%20Legislation%20Committee_2017_05_31_5055.pdf;fileType=application/pdf

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Senator LUDLAM: Can I speak to someone on the UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons?

Senator LUDLAM: Can I speak to someone on the UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons?

Mr Sadleir: Yes, Senator.

Senator LUDLAM: It is good that you are here, Mr Sadleir, because I want to ask a couple of questions about a meeting that occurred between 4 and 8 July 2016 that I understand you were present at. You and Ms Jane Hardy travelled to Washington, DC to meet with a range of, I understand, quite senior State Department and National

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Security Council people to discuss what was then referred to as the UN open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament. Can you confirm for us on the record that that meeting occurred and that you were in attendance?

[Here it took an extraordinarily long time for Mr Sadleir to admit that he was at this meeting]

‘……..Senator LUDLAM: I have not asked what you discussed yet. Were you in attendance at that meeting?
Mr Sadleir

Mr Sadleir: I was certainly in Washington. I would need to check my diary to get the precise dates but I was certainly there around that time.

Senator LUDLAM: I think that what will happen when you check the dates is that you will come back and confirm that you were in fact there. I will let you check the record. I would appreciate that. What was the purpose of those meetings? Continue reading

June 10, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Turnbull government ignoring new government in South Korea

Given that there is new leadership in Seoul, Canberra needs to review its stance on North Korea and discuss it with the Moon administration.

Calling North Korea’s nuclear program a threat to Australia isn’t going to solve the North Korean problem.

It’s time for Australia to review its Korea policy and take South Korea more seriously.

Turnbull’s policy towards North Korea crucially ignores South Korea, Guardian,  Continue reading

June 9, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia’s diplomats called “weasels” on Australia’s stand against nuclear weapons ban treaty

Anti-nuclear campaigners are scathing.

“Australia’s disruptive behaviour at the working group only served to isolate us from the vast majority of nations who are now working to ban nuclear weapons at the United Nations,” said Gem Romuld from ICAN.

“Australia’s moves backfired when the working group voted overwhelmingly in support of a ban; it was a wake-up call for DFAT.

“Australia is standing with the Trump administration and clinging to the dangerous concept that these weapons of mass destruction make us safe

Australia’s stance on the nuclear weapons ban treaty – and why our diplomats were labelled ‘weasels’, ABC News  By political reporter Stephen Dziedzic  3 June 17 Scott Ludlam ……….”Weasels. They called us weasels.”Did other delegates refer to the Australian delegates as weasels?”

It was an unusual question, but officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) sitting opposite the Senator did not look confused. They knew exactly what he was talking about.

And the exchange that followed briefly illuminated the most recent global negotiations to end nuclear weapons — and Australia’s role in them.

What’s the new agreement?Right now, more than 120 nations are trying to introduce a ban on nuclear weapons. A United Nations panel has now released a draft treaty. States who sign it would be forbidden from developing or manufacturing nuclear weapons. They would also have to get rid of any weapons they already possess.

The treaty’s champions argue the proliferation of nuclear weapons is an existential threat to humankind. And they say the woeful pace of global disarmament proves there is a compelling need for a new agreement that would exert moral pressure on states to disarm.

But there are plenty of problems.

First, none of the nine nuclear powers — including the US, Russia, China and the UK — support the new treaty.

Neither does Australia. The Federal Government has refused to take part in the treaty negotiations.

Why does Australia oppose the ban treaty? First, Australia argues that the treaty ignores geopolitical reality. Hardheads in the Government say that while everyone would like to see a world without nuclear weapons, the strategic environment is actually becoming more volatile and dangerous.They argue the US nuclear umbrella provides vital deterrence, and protects Australia.

For example, DFAT talking points obtained by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) say Australia “must be realistic about the environment in which we operate — North Korean provocations and nuclear tests are a case in point”……….

Why were we called the weasels? Continue reading

June 2, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Sweden cancels investigation of Julian Assange, removes arrest warrant

Sweden shuts down Julian Assange rape investigation, TT/The Local 19 May 2017, Swedish prosecutors have decided to end the rape investigation into Julian Assange and lift the Europe-wide arrest warrant against him, but UK police say they will still arrest him.In a statement on its website, the Swedish prosecution authority said that the “Director of Public Prosecution, Ms Marianne Ny, has today decided to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange”.


May 20, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

The plight of Kiribati Island – desperate need for Australia’s help

Our country will vanish’: Pacific islanders bring desperate message to Australia, Guardian, 14 May 17,   Kiribati and other low-lying countries are under threat from climate change, and while their people would rather stay behind, they may be left with no choice “……… i-Kiribati man Erietera Aram is in Australia delivering his message about the reality of climate change in his country, and of its immediacy. Each discussion, he says, is like a drop of water, adding to the one before it, slowly building understanding of the existential threat to his people and place.

“Climate change is not something off in the future, it’s not a problem for later. We are living it now,” he says.

The archipelago of Kiribati – 33 tiny coral atolls spanning 3.5m square kilometres of ocean – is the world’s lowest-lying country, with an average height above sea level of just two metres.

Most of the 113,000 i-Kiribati live crammed on to Tarawa, the administrative centre, a chain of islets that curve in a horseshoe shape around a lagoon.

“My place is very small,” Aram says. “If you stand in the middle, you can see water on both sides. We are vulnerable. One tsunami, one tsunami and our whole country will disappear.”

Already, there is less and less of Kiribati for its inhabitants. The coastline is regularly being lost to king tides and to creeping sea levels, and in a very real sense, there is nowhere to go.

The loss of land is causing conflict – Tarawa is growing ever more densely crowded, as families living on the coastline are forced inwards, infringing on another’s claim.

The next round of multinational climate talks in November – COP 23 – will be chaired by Fiji, and is expected to swing particular focus of the global climate debate to the Pacific, where comparatively minuscule amounts of carbon are produced, but the effects of climate change have been felt first, and most acutely.

Assuming the COP presidency, the Fijian prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, said he would “bring a particular perspective to these negotiations on behalf of some of those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change – Pacific Islanders and the residents of other small island developing states and low-lying areas of the world”…….

May 15, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Fiji wants Australian PM to lobby Trump to stay with Paris climate deal

Fiji asks Turnbull to lobby Trump to stay with Paris climate deal, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 2 May 2017 Fiji prime minister Frank Bainimarama, who will host this year’s climate change talks in Bonn, has asked Australia prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to urge US president Donald Trump to stay within the Paris climate treaty.

In his first address as president of COP23, Bainimarama told the Carbon Markets Institute conference in Melbourne on Tuesday that he had written a letter to Trump, who has dismissed climate science as a Chinese hoax, urging the US to stay within the Paris agreement.

Bainimarama met with Turnbull at the PM’s home in Sydney on Sunday and said he had asked Turnbull to convey the message to Trump when he meets with him next week.

“My message to Donald Trump, and the message that I hope Malcolm Turnbull will also convey is ‘Mr President, do not abandon the Paris agreement, please stay the course’.”

Bainimarama said it was clear from the latest climate science that the world is running out of time, and it may already be too late to avoid many of the impacts.

“Climate change is not a hoax, it is frighteningly real,” he said. “Billions of people are losing the ability to feed themselves … We need to limit the damage … failure is not an option.”

 Trump has signaled previously that the US would quit the Paris climate deal, or withdraw from the UNFCCC, the UN umbrella body on climate change.

He has appointed a climate science denier, Scott Pruitt, to lead the Environment Protection Agency; appointed deniers to numerous other key portfolios; and has sought to roll back all climate change and clean energy initiatives, and remove rules restricting what he calls “clean coal.”

However, a decision on whether to leave the Paris deal, expected last week, has been delayed………

May 3, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Donald Trump could get Australia involved in war

every US ally is now on notice – you cannot rely on Trump’s America in a crisis

US Allies Now On Notice, The Age, Peter Hartcher, 2 May 17   It was five years ago that a senior US official brought to Canberra the sobering news that North Korea was turning its missiles towards Australia for the first time. He  [Campbell,  a former senior Pentagon official] has an update…….. .

“The biggest deterrent” to a pre-emptive US strike on North Korea “is not its nuclear capability – it’s conventional capability. If ever there were a conflict on the Korean peninsula, it would be a masive inferno. You have high confidence that, in the end, North Korea would be wiped out.

“But the devastation of the South would be horrific – millions killed.”

A further restraint on any idea of a preemptive US strike to destroy North Korea’s nuclear facilities, says Campbell, is that there is recent evidence that the regime has distributed the nuclear infrastructure around the country and the US could not be fully confident that it knows every location.

There are no easy options. Trump has said that he’s expecting China’s Xi Jinping to do the hard work of deterring Kim from any further provocation. Xi says that Washington and Beijing are united in seeking to prevent the nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

But North Korea is nonetheless one of only two allies of China, and there are limits to how far it will go in pressing its ally. Campbell says he expects that “in the end, China will disappoint” American expectations……

He’s not impressed by Trump’s handling of the problem to date: “In a crisis like this the tendency is for the US to bring its allies closer. The president has instead roiled South Korea with his comments – it’s crazy….. In the midst of a crisis that Donald Trump has described his most urgent national security priority, he has picked a fight not with his adversary but with his ally.

In the past week or so, even as North Korea threatens an imminent attack on South Korea, Trump has chosen to denounce the US free trade agreement with Seoul as the “worst deal ever” and demanded renegotiations.

He has insulted his South Korean ally by saying in an interview that the country was once “part of China”, a falsehood that seems to concede to China a greater scope for legitimate influence over Seoul.

And, astonishingly, he has even demanded publicly that the South Korean government, which goes to an election in a month’s time, must pay for the defensive missile interception system that the US is installing on South Korean soil.

Malcolm Turnbull will strike a pose with Trump this week on the deck of a retired warship in New York Harbour to affirm the strength of the alliance with the US. Everyone will play happy allied families in a carefully choreographed performance.

But the reality of US alliances under Trump is not the cheerful one to be played out on the USS Missouri but Trump’s treatment of America’s South Korean ally.

Every US ally needs to note that, exactly when South Korea needs America most, Trump is putting pressure on it, picking a fight with it on trade and defence, publicly belittling it.

Turnbull has to do what he can to preserve as much of the alliance as he can. But every US ally is now on notice – you cannot rely on Trump’s America in a crisis. ….–and-so-are-us-allies-20170501-gvwpbm.html

May 2, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

Pine Gap and Northwest Cape- Australia’s very obvious nuclear targets

Pine Gap is more than a giant electronic vacuum cleaner. The facility is also involved in tactical warfare, through programs like “The Red Dot Express”

More controversial is Pine Gap’s role in drone strikes.

Instead of trying to pump up hysteria over a non-existent North Korean missile strike, The Turnbull Government should take a hard look at the very real threat that Pine Gap and Northwest Cape pose to Australia.

Pine Gap is still there — bigger and badder than ever, Independent Australia Norm Sanders 25 April 2017 With Donald Trump putting a blowtorch to the Cold War, it is time to take another look at all the U.S. bases in Australia, including Pine Gap, writes Dr Norm Sanders

PINE GAP, Northwest Cape and Nurrungar were the focus of the Australian Peace Movement in the 1980’s. Then the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock crept slowly away from midnight and the removal of the bases didn’t seem so urgent. The clamour to close the bases died down………

I actually knew quite a bit about what Pine Gap was up to at the time, but it was child’s play compared to what they are doing at present. A simple place to start is Pine Gap’s assumption of the function of Nurrungar in 1999. Nurrungar was located at Island Lagoon, Woomera and was crucial to America’s defenses during the Cold War. Nurrungar furnished “Launch on Warning” surveillance of ICBM or other rocket launches anywhere on the globe. Analysts regarded it as one of the USSR’s top ten targets.

Now, Pine Gap has probably surpassed Nurrungar in the rankings. It is one of the largest satellite ground stations in the world, with over 33 satellite antennas. Pine Gap houses a number of U.S. Government agencies, such as the National Reconnaissance Office (spy satellites,) the National Security Agency, the CIA, and the Geospatial-intelligence Agency. In addition, all branches of the U.S. Military are represented. Continue reading

April 26, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

America’s deployment of 1250 marines to Darwin rattles North Korea

North Korea highlights 1250 US marines in Darwin to claim America is preparing for nuclear war, SMH, Kirsty Needham, James Massola, 25 Apr 17, 

North Korea’s state newspaper has singled out the United States’ deployment of 1250 marines to Darwin to claim America is preparing for nuclear war.

And as regional tensions escalate and a US carrier strike group approaches the Korean peninsula, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the secretive regime “must be stopped” as it represented a threat to the region and, potentially, globally.

In a phone call with US president Donald Trump, Chinese president Xi Jinping said China opposed any actions that went against UN security council resolutions, as Japan confirmed it was joining drills with the strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson that is headed to Korean waters.

Pusan National University associate professor Robert Kelly told Fairfax Media North Korea’s missiles might have the range to reach northern Australia, but played down the threat as “the question is guidance, not range”.

Rodong Sinmun, the official paper of the Worker’s Party of North Korea, highlighted the US marines’ arrival in northern Australia on April 18. The marines will be joined by 12 military helicopters including five Cobra helicopters and four Osprey carriers.

“This is the largest scale US military presence in Australia after World War 2,” the newspaper reported on Monday. “America is fanatically, crazily trying to optimise its nuclear war readiness,” it claimed.

The story, on page six of the North Korean newspaper, was headlined: America prepares for nuclear war in different overseas military deployments. Darwin was the only city named…….

Australia-based defence experts believe it is unlikely North Korea has the capacity to strike Australia yet, though they may do within the next three years. The nation’s most recent missile test, earlier this month, failed just seconds after launch…….

The deployment of 1250 marines is the largest to Darwin since the former prime minister Julia Gillard and former president Barack Obama struck a deal back in 2011 to undertake the yearly rotation of troops.

with Sanghee Liu, AAP

April 26, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea developing missiles in 3 years time, that could reach Australia, esp Pine Gap

‘In three years’: N Korea making missiles which ‘could hit Australia’  on April 24, 2017,  North Korea could potentially hit Australia with one of its under-development intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) within the next three years, according to military experts………

April 26, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea: By opposing UN we have increased insecurity Tim Wright, Asia-Pacific director, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has excoriated North Korea for squandering vast resources on weapons of mass destruction instead of meeting the basic needs of its citizens. Yet in recent years, Ms Bishop has argued stridently against the global prohibition on nuclear weapons, believing that US nuclear forces are essential for Australia’s security and prosperity.

It is on this basis that she decided to boycott a major UN nuclear disarmament process that began in March – potentially violating Australia’s obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. More than 130 nations are part of these historic negotiations, the success of which is vital to our collective security. While this process will not result immediately in a denuclearised Korean Peninsula, that goal will be more readily achieved in a world moving towards disarmament. By opposing this UN effort and encouraging the US to bolster its nuclear arsenal, Australia has very much contributed to the global insecurity we now face.


April 26, 2017 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea lashes out at Julie Bishop, with nuclear warning.

North Korea issues nuclear warning to Australia, Camden Narellan Advertiser ,23 Apr 2017 Beijing: North Korea’s foreign ministry has lashed out at Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and warned Australia was “coming within the range of the nuclear strike”. The threats were reported by the North Korean state news agency KCNA as being made on Friday, in response to a radio interview given by Ms Bishop.

According to a translation of the KCNA report, which was dated Friday, the same day US Vice-President Mike Pence arrived in Australia, Ms Bishop had said in the radio interview that North Korea seriously threatens regional peace and she supports the US policy that “all options are on the table”.

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of North Korea – officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – was quoted as saying: “The present government of Australia is blindly and zealously toeing the US line. It is hard to expect good words from the foreign minister of such government.”….

“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 KCNA report continued: “The Australian foreign minister had better think twice about the consequences to be entailed by her reckless tongue-lashing before flattering the US.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday pledged support for the US policy on North Korea and again urged China to do more to place economic pressure on North Korea.

China has turned back coal shipments to North Korea in recent weeks, one of the regime’s few sources of funding. Chinese media have speculated the Chinese government is also considering cutting oil supplies.

There are renewed concerns that North Korea may conduct its sixth nuclear test on Tuesday, the 85th anniversary of its military, and China said this week it was “gravely concerned”.

China’s official People’s Daily newspaper on Saturday evening reported online that new satellite images of the North Korean nuclear test site had shown probable new trailer activity, citing US research website 38 North

April 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

North Korea warns of nuclear strike against Australia: Turnbull tight-lipped about joining any USA military action.

North Korea threatens nuclear strike against Australia if it doesn’t stop ‘blindly toeing US line’ ABC News, by defence reporter Andrew Greene, 23 Apr 17, North Korea has warned Australia it could be hit with nuclear weapons if it continues to “blindly” follow the United States.

Key points:

  • N Korean accuses Australia of “spouting a string of rubbish” about isolated regime
  • Spokesman said Julie Bishop could “never be pardoned” for saying North Korea’s nukes were a threat to Australia
  • Comments coincide with Mike Pence’s visit to Australia

The comments came after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop earlier this week said on the ABC’s AM program that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program posed a “serious threat” to Australia unless it was stopped by the international community.

A spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry accused Australia of “spouting a string of rubbish” about the isolated regime, 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.”

Pence, after talks with PM, said US would ‘deal’ with North Korea  The comments coincided with a visit to Australia by US Vice-President Mike Pence, who continued to condemn Pyongyang’s weapons program at a time of heightened tension between the regions.Mr Pence also thanked Australia for calling on China to exert greater economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea. “As President Trump made clear a few days ago, if China is unable to deal with North Korea, the United States and our allies will,” he said, following a meeting with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“Mr Prime Minister, know that President Trump and I are truly grateful to you for calling on China even this week to play an even more active and constructive role in addressing the North Korean threat.”

Mr Pence would not rule out the use of military force in North Korea, repeating “all options are on the table”, but stressed the US was focused on diplomacy at this stage.

Mr Turnbull meanwhile said it was “self-evident” China had the capacity to bring more pressure to bear on North Korea.

But he brushed off questions about whether Australia would join any military strike on the regime in the future..….

April 23, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment