North Korea condemned over missiles, bomb

Sep 4, 2017

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his Japanese counterpart have agreed to meet Donald Trump "at the soonest opportunity" to discuss the North Korean crisis amid speculation Pyongyang is preparing to launch yet another ballistic missile.

While Mr Turnbull and Japan's Shinzo Abe have spoken following North Korea's sixth nuclear test on Sunday, Defence Minister Marise Payne will leave for talks in South Korea on Wednesday.

South Korea's defence ministry has confirmed North Korea is readying the launch of another missile, possibly an intercontinental ballistic missile.

"I am very concerned that they are endangering regional security and stability and that their behaviour is both provocative and destructive," Senator Payne told ABC radio on Monday.

United States Defence Secretary James Mattis has warned of "a massive military response" to any threat from North Korea against the US or its allies.

Mr Turnbull also denounced North Korea over its latest nuclear test, saying it represents the "most dangerous moment" on the peninsula since the end of the Korean war.

The prime minister and national security committee of cabinet was briefed on Monday by intelligence and defence chiefs.

"This is the most dangerous moment in time on the Korean peninsula since the end of the Korean war," Mr Turnbull told parliament.

"Much is at stake. The conduct of this regime, the reckless and illegal conduct of this regime, cannot be rewarded."

While North Korea claimed it was a hydrogen bomb, this was not yet confirmed.

"Nonetheless, this is yet another reckless and dangerous step in the conduct of this rogue regime in North Korea."

Mr Turnbull said China, which was frustrated by North Korea's conduct, should use its economic leverage to bring the rogue regime to its senses.

So too did Senator Payne, who cautioned against setting a time frame for sanctions to be successful.

"We're not at the end of this conversation and we frankly can't afford to be - the alternative does not bear contemplation," the minister said.

China is hosting an economic conference this week - involving Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa - which President Xi Jinping sees as a demonstration of its international leadership.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said "unprecedented pressure" should be brought to bear on North Korea including sanctions on the country's foreign trade bank, a block on remittances, and bans on coal, iron ore and seafood.

A shallow, 6.3-magnitude earthquake shook North Korea on Sunday with Pyongyang later confirming it had successfully tested a bomb that possessed "great destructive power".

The government says the UN Security Council should urgently consider further action against North Korea.

It has asked the council's five permanent members and the international community to apply the maximum possible pressure.

The opposition joined the condemnation, describing it as a "provocative and extremely dangerous act".

"Every nation must now do what we can to turn North Korea back from this incredibly dangerous path upon which it has embarked," Labor leader Bill Shorten said.