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China obligated to take action against 'dangerous' N Korea: Turnbull

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by April 18, 2017 General

North Korea poses a “reckless” and “dangerous” threat to Australia’s peace and stability, Malcolm Turnbull has warned, while reminding China it carries the heaviest obligation to take action against the isolated regime.

Key points:

  • Beijing “has the ability” to bring North Korea into position where it’s not threatening neighbours, Turnbull says
  • North Korea’s nuclear program threatens Australia, Julie Bishop says
  • “We’ll be conducting more missile tests weekly,” North Korean Vice Foreign Minister says

In his strongest statement yet over the growing military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the Prime Minister has urged Beijing to take tougher action against its near neighbour.

“It has the greatest obligation and responsibility to bring North Korea back into a realm of at least responsibility in terms of its engagement with its neighbours,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

“It has the ability, if it chooses, to exercise it to bring North Korea back into at least the position where it is not threatening to rain down devastation on its neighbours, which is what they have been doing.”

Earlier Foreign Minister Julie Bishop warned North Korea’s nuclear weapons program poses a “serious threat” to Australia unless was is stopped by the international community.

During a visit to South Korea, US Vice-President Mike Pence has declared the “era of strategic patience is over” with North Korea, expressing doubts over the willingness of the regime to move toward ridding itself of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

In response, North Korea has threatened to carry out weekly missile tests.

“We’ll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis,” North Korean Vice-Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol told the BBC in Pyongyang.

Mr Pence will arrive in Australia later this week as part of a tour of the region where he is meeting with key allies, including Japan.

People cheer as a missile is driven past the stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a military parade.

Australia conducts exercises with US carrier group

The ABC has confirmed a US Navy Strike group, which had been dispatched toward the Korean Peninsula more than a week ago, has been conducting scheduled joint training exercises with the Royal Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean.

The Carl Vinson Strike group had been scheduled to make port visits to Australia but on April 8 the US Pacific Fleet announced it would “sail north and report on station in the Western Pacific Ocean after departing Singapore”.

Instead of heading straight toward the Korean Peninsula, the US strike group has conducted planned exercises with HMAS Ballarat.

Senior Australian defence sources say the Carl Vinson Strike group is now gradually making its way closer to North Korea.

According to images released by the US Navy on Saturday the carrier group passed north through the Sunda Strait — the passage between the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java — which is about 5,600 kilometres from Korea.

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transits the Sunda Strait

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