Kevin Rudd

Rudd slams 'irresponsible' pledge to join US-North Korea war

CHINA will halt iron, iron ore and seafood imports from North Korea as it implements new UN sanctions, the commerce ministry said Monday.

Beijing had pledged to fully enforce the latest sanctions against its diplomatic ally after coming under pressure from the United States to do more to compel Pyongyang to drop its nuclear weapons programme.

The ministry said on its website that all imports of coal, iron, iron ore and seafood will be "completely prohibited" from Tuesday.

The announcement follows days of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un's regime, which has raised international alarm.

The United Nations Security Council, including permanent member Beijing, approved tough sanctions against Pyongyang on August 6 that could cost the hermetic country $1 billion a year.

The sanctions were in response to the North's two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month, after which Kim boasted that he could now strike any part of the United States.

The US has accused China, which is North Korea's main economic lifeline, of not doing enough to rein in its neighbour.

But Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi vowed after the UN sanctions were given the green light that his country "will for sure implement that new resolution 100 percent, fully and strictly"


KEVIN Rudd has slammed Malcolm Turnbull's promise to follow the US into war if it comes to conflict with North Korea as "irresponsible".

The former prime minister said it was clear the conservatives had learnt nothing from the war in Iraq after Prime Minister Turnbull confirmed Australia would follow through on the ANZUS treaty if it came to war.

"My response to that statement when I first saw it on the weekend was simply 'Good God, have the conservatives learnt nothing from the Iraq experience," Mr Rudd told ABC radio this morning from New York.

"John Howard gave President Bush a blank cheque on Iraq," he said.

"You never as an Australian prime minister, as an ally of the United States, give the Americans, before the event, a blank cheque."

Mr Rudd said there was a real risk of a catastrophic conflict on the Korean peninsula.

"But for an Australian prime minister to say we automatically would become militarily involved in the event of a North Korean attack, frankly, I think, is irresponsible in terms of our core national security interests," he said.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne hit back at Mr Rudd's comments, saying the Turnbull Government was not "giving anyone a blank cheque".

"What I think the Prime Minister was doing was making it very clear that in the event of a conflagration on the Korean peninsula, the ANZUS treaty would immediately come into play," he told ABC radio.

"The first aspect of the ANZUS treaty is that Australia needs to consult with the US or vice-versa about any assistance we can provide and if that assistance is in our best interests."

"But obviously it is in our best interest for the US not to be attacked by North Korea, it's in our best interest for the US to remain the bedrock of the countries in the world that support freedom and liberty and democracy but we aren't giving anyone a blank cheque."

Mr Pyne said the situation was still a long way from war.

"We are facing the possibility of war, we are at the moment ... using all diplomatic efforts to ensure that we never get to that point because the results of any war, especially if initiated by North Korea, are obviously too terrible to think about," he said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop strongly backed the Prime Minister's comments this morning, telling Sky News the government would be forced to act quickly if North Korea attacked the US.

Prime Minister Turnbull made Australia's position clear on Friday after discussing the situation with US Vice

President Mike Pence and receiving a briefing from the Chief of the Defence Force Mark Binskin in Canberra.

"We stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States," Mr Turnbull told press after the briefing.

"The ANZUS treaty means that if America is attacked, we will come to their aid and if Australia is attacked, the Americans will come to ours. We are joined at the hip. The American alliance is the bedrock of our national security."

News Corp Australia

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