Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has used her address to the United Nations General Assembly to call out North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, and keep up pressure on China and Russia to enforce sanctions on the rogue nation.
Ms Bishop’s harsh words on Friday in response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile ambitions came after Mr Kim described US President Donald Trump as a “mentally deranged US dotard” and his foreign minister suggested the regime could test a nuclear weapon over the Pacific Ocean.
Mr Trump responded on Twitter by saying Mr Kim was “obviously a madman”.
Ms Bishop said North Korea has challenged, undermined and ignored the authority of the UN Security Council and she called on the council’s five permanent members – China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and the United States – to ensure sanctions against the regime are enforced.
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“It is crucial that all United Nations member states and especially the permanent five, who have a particular responsibility, strictly implement these sanctions to compel North Korea to abandon its illegal programs,” Ms Bishop told the General Assembly in New York.
“The authority of the council must be defended and upheld.
“Australia will play our part in helping to resolve this crisis.”
Ms Bishop said Australia would consider strengthening its sanctions on North Korea if the regime continued its flagrant disregard for the international community and the Security Council.
The UN’s 193 member states each have an opportunity to address the General Assembly this week, with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho scheduled to speak later on Friday (11.30am Saturday AEST).
Outside the UN, he told reporters North Korea could react to Mr Trump’s stiff new sanctions and personal barbs at Mr Kim with “the strongest hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean”.
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Ms Bishop also used her speech to talk up Australia’s bid for a 2018-2020 seat on the UN Human Rights Council.
Australia would help empower women, girls and indigenous groups to reach their full potential if elected.
“Australia is proud to be home to the world’s oldest continuous culture and will strive to advance the human rights of indigenous peoples around the globe,” she said.
Ms Bishop, who has led Australia’s delegation at this week’s General Assembly after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull chose not to make the trip, made special mention of the “inspiring work” of Australian businessman and philanthropist Andrew Forrest, his wife Nicola and daughter Grace with their anti-slavery Walk Free Foundation.