North Korea released a statement through its state-run news agency criticizing Australia for supporting the United States and South Korea’s position on Pyongyang.
ABC reports the statement accuses Australia of “dangerous moves” by joining the “military provocations of the U.S.” The overnight statement read that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had expressed support for the U.S. considering the use of force on the region.
“Lately, Australia is showing dangerous moves of zealously joining the frenzied political and military provocations of the U.S. against the DPRK,” the statement said.
“The Australian Foreign Minister personally expressed her support for the stand of the US to consider all options including the use of force towards the DPRK.”
North Korea also warned Australia against aligning with the U.S. and South Korea, stating that Australia “will not be able to avoid disaster” if it does so. However, Bloomberg reports Australia has countered by pledging its support for those working against North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
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Bishop told reporters Sunday that Australia will remain a part of the conversation.
“Australia is not a primary target,” she said before going on to explain that the focus of the Australian government remains bringing North Korea “back to the negotiating table.”
North Korea issued its warning following Bishop’s recent visit to the demilitarized zone along with Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne.
The Australian Minister for Veterans Affairs, Dan Tehan, also responded to the statement in an interview with Sky News on Sunday.
“We will not be cowed by the North Koreans,” Tehan said. “We will continue to do all we can to protect and help and support our allies.”
“The North Koreans should do what the international community have asked them to do – obey all the security council resolutions which have been passed, condemning their missile activity, condemning their attempts to build nuclear weapons. If they did that, the international community would look to work with them,” Tehan continued.
North Korea has launched several missile tests this past year, which have prompted the United Nations to lead two rounds of sanctions against the region since the beginning of August.