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Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Page: 10051

North Korea

Mr FALINSKI (Mackellar) (14:52): My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Can the minister update the House on how the government, as part of international efforts, is stepping up pressure on North Korea?

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:52): I thank the member for Mackellar for this important question. The Australian government welcomes and strongly supports UN Security Council resolution 2375, which was passed unanimously overnight by all 15 permanent and temporary members of the Security Council, imposing further sanctions on North Korea just nine days after North Korea had conducted its sixth illegal and most powerful nuclear test.

Last Thursday I spoke at length with the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, about the contents of the proposed resolution, and we noted that while North Korea is isolated diplomatically, it is not self-sufficient economically, particularly in relation to basic commodities, including energy. Secretary Tillerson and I agreed that ever-increasing economic pressure on North Korea is an essential pillar of the collective international strategy to compel North Korea to return to the negotiating table and to abandon its illegal missile and nuclear programs. We noted the special responsibility of the five permanent members of the Security Council—particularly those who maintain an economic relationship with North Korea—to uphold the authority of the Security Council in the face of the repeated violations by North Korea, and to impose maximum economic pressure on the North Korean regime to make it change course.

The new additional sanctions target very important parts of the North Korean economy. There will be a complete ban on the export of all North Korean textiles. That's worth about $950 million per year to the regime. The amount of oil that North Korea can import will be reduced by a third. There will also be a prohibition on the importation of natural gas. All joint ventures with North Korean individuals and entities are banned. No North Korean worker will be permitted to work overseas once their current contracts are completed, and no new work visas will be issued. Again, this will deny the regime of hundreds of millions of dollars that it has been channelling from remittances to fund its illegal programs. Also, the powers to stop and search vessels that are carrying cargo to and from North Korea will be greatly expanded.

Australia continues to fully implement all sanctions, including those that were imposed on 5 August, and will implement fully the latest sanctions. We also have our own regime of autonomous sanctions against 31 entities and 37 individuals from North Korea. If the international community remains united and resolute, we can deter North Korea from its course.

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:55): On indulgence: I associate the opposition with the foreign affairs minister's remarks. This parliament, too, is united in its resolve. North Korea's repeated defiance of international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions is unacceptable. North Korea's ballistic threat and missile tests are a direct threat not only to their neighbours but to the broader region and beyond. We should be upholding the UN Security Council resolutions and doing more where we can. Every nation has an obligation to do what it can. Later this month, I will travel with Senator Penny Wong to South Korea and Japan to discuss the security situation on the Korean peninsula. All of us in this parliament should do what we can, in a united fashion, to be able to contribute to greater world peace and deal with the threat of North Korea.