Doorstop, Parliament House

Canberra

Transcript, E&OE, proof only

Subjects: John Short release

3 March 2014

JOURNALIST: (Question re update on John Short..)

JULIE BISHOP: Mr Short has been met by Australian consular officials in Beijing after he was allowed to leave North Korea. He is receiving consular support and we are arranging for him to return to his home in Hong Kong. We are grateful that he is out of North Korea; that we have been able to meet with him and he’s on his way home.

This is a warning however for those who travel into North Korea to ensure that they log on to the Smartraveller website, that they register for updates and that they take account of our travel advice. We do not have a consular presence in Pyongyang, we do not have an embassy or mission in North Korea, so our ability to assist Australians who get into trouble is limited.

I want to thank the Swedish officials, who do have a presence in Pyongyang, for their support in assisting Australia to make contact with the North Korean authorities and express our concern about his whereabouts.

JOURNALIST: In this case it seems that the North Korean authorities have used some discretion maybe in relation to Mr Short’s age. Does that warrant some stronger warning maybe to people travelling to that area?

JULIE BISHOP: We make our warnings very well known, we broadcast it widely. We do not have a diplomatic presence in North Korea and therefore our ability to provide consular support is very limited. We became aware of Mr Short’s situation through his wife in Hong Kong so had she not contacted us we would have had no way of knowing he was there because we were not informed in advance.

So the message is; please log on to the Smartraveller website and follow the advice of the Australian Government.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555