China stepping up on North Korea: Pyne
Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has welcomed China “stepping up to the mark” to pressure rogue state North Korea to behave itself.
Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke to US President Donald Trump on the telephone overnight and has called for a peaceful resolution to the escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Trump said on Twitter that Wednesday’s call with Xi, just days after they met in the United States for the first time, was a “very good” discussion of the “menace of North Korea”.
He later praised China in a news conference for sending coal ships back to North Korea under UN sanctions, and said he thought Xi wanted to help.
Mr Pyne said the responsibility to rein in North Korea mostly rests with China – “the Hermit Kingdom’s closest ally” since the 1960s.
“The Chinese Government has overnight stepped up to the mark and is putting pressure on North Korea to ensure it behaves itself,” he told reporters in Adelaide on Thursday.
Tensions have escalated on the Korean peninsula, with talk of US military action gaining traction following its strikes against Syria last week, while there are concerns the North may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test.
US warships at the weekend were diverted to Korean waters from a planned visit to Australia after the reclusive state launched a ballistic missile last week.
North Korea has warned it is prepared to respond to any aggression.
Labor leader Bill Shorten has labelled North Korea a rogue nation.
“There is not a cigarette paper of difference between (Malcolm) Turnbull and myself on this matter,” he said.