A THREAT from the despotic North Korea regime that Australia could face a “nuclear strike” if it continues to back the United States has done little to change the position of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who hit back with the diplomatic equivalent of telling North Korea to sit down and be quiet.
The message from the North Korean Foreign Ministry warned Ms Bishop to “think twice about the consequences to be entailed by her reckless tongue-lashing before flattering the US”.
The threat follows Ms Bishop telling the ABC that North Korea’s determination to develop nuclear weapons was a “serious threat” to Australia.
This was a “string of rubbish”, according to North Korea, which then warned Australia would face “a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of North Korea”.
Seemingly unruffled by the threat of nuclear destruction, Ms Bishop said the notoriously poor nation “should invest in the welfare of its long-suffering citizens, rather than weapons of mass destruction”, the ABC reports.
She again emphasised that North Korea needed to shut down its “illegal nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs”.
Opposition defence spokesman Richard Marles said while the statement was an enormous concern, the comments from North Korea were not surprising.
Earlier this month, the acting US ambassador to Australia James Carouso told The Australian that within two years, North Korea could have the missle capacity to strike Australia.
The tit-for-tat came as US Vice-President Mike Pence again attacked North Korea’s weapons program while in Australia.
Mr Pence told Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull following a meeting how they were “truly grateful” to Australia for calling on China to do more to quell the threat of North Korea.
Mr Turnbull however would not say whether Australia would be part of a military strike on North Korea.
“At this stage, the support we are providing is at the level of diplomacy (and) is of critical importance,” he said.