JOURNALIST: I am joined by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, who's in Perth this morning. Minister thanks for joining us. Do we know yet for certain if this was or was not a hydrogen bomb?
JULIE BISHOP: Good morning. It is clear that North Korea has detonated a significant nuclear device equivalent to about an earthquake of 5 on the Richter scale. What is not clear is whether or not it was a hydrogen or thermonuclear bomb and that still has to be established. North Korea does have a history of exaggerating its technological prowess. Early indications are it was not a hydrogen bomb but there are still tests to be carried out and I am not an expert in this area. If it was a hydrogen bomb, that is a significant and dangerous step forward by North Korea, but at this stage we believe that it's more likely to be a nuclear weapon, in accordance with its past practice.
Regardless of the type of weapon, this is further provocative and dangerous behaviour on the part of North Korea. It is being universally condemned by the international community. The Security Council held emergency consultations overnight. They agreed that a test had been carried out. They were united in their condemnation and confirmed that it breached previous Security Council resolutions and was in violation of those resolutions. I spoke with South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se overnight. They are deeply concerned by this turn of events and what it means to not only stability on the Korean Peninsula but regional stability and international peace and security.
JOURNALIST: Minister regardless of what was detonated what are the impacts to our region security wise and what does it mean for Australia?
JULIE BISHOP: It is deeply concerning that North Korea appears to flout international norms when it comes to nuclear non-proliferation. We will work with our partners and allies and friends in the region to maintain pressure on North Korea to desist in its provocative behaviour and to work towards denuclearisation.
Sanctions are an option. Australia has imposed autonomous sanctions as well as supporting the UN Security Council imposed sanctions and I understand that the Security Council members are working on further significant measures to place pressure on the leader of North Korea so that he desists in this behaviour, which does threaten the stability of not only our region but international peace and security.
JOURNALIST: Obviously we will know more as the day goes on Minister Julie Bishop thanks for joining us.
JULIE BISHOP: My pleasure.
- Ends -
- Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555