Australia is playing down North Korean threats to inflict the “greatest pain” on the US following additional sanctions on the rogue nation.
“On this scale of threats, intimidation and insults it’s probably just par for the course from North Korea,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Wednesday.
The sanctions reflected the international community’s view that maximum economic pressure would force the regime to change its calculation of risk.
“To change its behaviour, deter it from carrying out illegal tests and bring it back to the negotiating table,” Ms Bishop said.
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The measures approved by the security council this week build off sanctions across numerous sectors of the North Korean economy imposed in early August.
“They were the toughest and most comprehensive set of sanctions that had been imposed on North Korea to date,” Ms Bishop said.
The latest sanctions include a complete ban on the export of textiles from North Korea – an almost one billion dollar hit to the regime’s economy.
They also reduce by about a third the amount of oil North Korea can import.
The foreign minister, who will be in New York next week for UN leadership meetings, called on all nations to fully implement the sanctions.Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop arrives to speak at a Tourism & Transport Forum Leadership Summit at Parliament House in Canberra, September 13.AAP
“It’s overwhelmingly in Australia’s interests to ensure there is a peaceful resolution to the tensions on the Korean peninsula,” Ms Bishop said.
Three of Australia’s four largest trading partners are in north Asia and at risk of economic fallout if hostilities erupt.
Ms Bishop denied sanctions only stirred the pot when it came to the North Korean leadership.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop speaks at a Tourism & Transport Forum Leadership Summit at Parliament House in Canberra, September 13, 2017.AAP
“The alternative would be to allow a rogue regime to continue down an illegal path that is in direct defiance of the UN security council. That is not acceptable,” she said.
Australia was not considering options beyond diplomatic, political and economic measures but Ms Bishop acknowledged: “We’ve got a long way to go.”