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6 Jul, 2017 13:46

Australia would stand by US if N. Korea launched nuclear weapon in its direction – deputy PM

Australia would stand by US if N. Korea launched nuclear weapon in its direction – deputy PM

Australia’s deputy PM suggested Canberra would join military action against North Korea if Pyongyang were to fire a nuclear warhead at the US. He also has “sympathy” for calls to enforce trade sanctions against those doing business with the DPRK.

“No one should ever go too far in testing the resolve of the United States of America,” Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce told Sky News.

“If North Korea was to deliver a warhead into the United States of America then the ANZUS alliance would be called in,” he added, referring to the Australia, New Zealand, and United States Security Treaty.

When asked what kind of action might be taken, Joyce responded by asking “What would you want?”

“If someone drops a nuclear warhead on a country what do you think happens next?”

Earlier on Thursday, Joyce said Australia had “sympathy” for the idea of cutting off trade with countries doing business with Pyongyang.

“If people want to aid and abet [North Korea], obviously, we can't be supporting them,” he told the ABC’s Radio National, adding that China – Australia’s biggest trading partner – was the “key person” who could affect the intensifying situation with North Korea.

The US has repeatedly urged China to put pressure on North Korea, as its sole economic lifeline. However, a Wednesday tweet from US President Donald Trump appeared to say that such cooperation from Beijing wouldn't be happening.

“Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try!" Trump wrote.

Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington have worsened since Trump took office, with the US president repeatedly vowing to put an end to North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

That threat was reiterated on Thursday, with Trump pledging that Pyongyang will face repercussions over its recent ballistic missile launch, saying it is exhibiting “very, very bad behavior.” 

Trump's Thursday remarks came in response to Pyongyang test-firing its first intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called the launch a “gift” for the “American bastards” as they celebrated the Fourth of July.