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North Korea threatens Australia with ‘disaster’

North Korean soldiers (rear) watch as Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (L) stands on the southern side of the military demarcation line between North and South Koreas, in the truce village of Panmunjom, on October 12, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

North Korea has threatened Australia with “disaster” for aligning itself with South Korea and the United States in stepping up pressure on Pyongyang over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

“Lately, Australia is showing dangerous moves of zealously joining the frenzied political and military provocations of the US against the DPRK (North Korea),” the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Saturday quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.

“Should Australia continue to follow the US in imposing military, economic and diplomatic pressure upon the DPRK despite our repeated warnings, they will not be able to avoid a disaster,” the official added.

The spokesman also condemned Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s support for US and South Korean policies, including her consideration of all options, including the use of force, against Pyongyang to halt its missile tests and nuclear program.

The KCNA said there were media reports that Australia was “preparing for a war on the Korean Peninsula,” and advised Sydney to stay away from “reckless remarks and conducts” in support of Washington’s so-called “military option.”

Responding to Pyongyang’s threats, Australian Veterans’ Affairs Minister Dan Tehan said that Sydney “will not be cowed by the North Koreans” and will continue to do all it can to protect and support its allies.

Australian Veterans’ Affairs Minister Dan Tehan

“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 develop nuclear weapons,” he told Sky News.

“If they did that, then the rest of the international community would look to work with them. If they don’t, we will continue to support our allies: the South Koreans, the Japanese, and everyone else who is threatened by this unpalatable behavior by the North Koreans,” Tehan said.

This comes as news reports have claimed that the North is “highly likely” preparing to test-launch a ballistic missile capable of reaching US territory ahead of an upcoming joint naval drill by Washington and Seoul.

The US and South Korea are set to hold a joint navy drill from October 16 to 26 in the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea.

The United States and North Korea have been at loggerheads over Pyongyang’s weapons programs.

Pyongyang says it will not give up on its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward the country and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea. Thousands of US soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan.

Tensions have recently significantly risen between North Korea and the US. The two countries have been trading threats of military action against one another, and there is a potential for an actual armed conflict to erupt.

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