Australia has “sympathy” with calls to impose trade sanctions on countries such as China in retaliation for giving North Korea an economic lifeline.
Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce insists Beijing has the power to deal with Pyongyang, after North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile with the potential to reach Darwin or Alaska.
“China has more cards on the table in this than most and should be dealing with this,” he told ABC radio on Thursday.
Mr Joyce argued the greatest economic threat to China was North Korea’s potential to create instability in the region.
Asked about a US warning to cut off trade with countries doing business with North Korea, he said: “We obviously have sympathy.”
Countries should not be supporting other nations who aided a rogue leader.
But Mr Joyce warned the effect of trade sanctions would pale into insignificance against what would happen if North Korea continues down its nuclear program path.
“If North Korea was to make a mistake in one of its launches … and drop one of their missiles into South Korea or onto Japan then the economic plan for China, the economic plan for South East Asia would cease that moment.”
US President Donald Trump has again criticised Beijing for continuing trade with Pyongyang.
US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told the Security Council her country was prepared to use force against North Korea “if we must”.
Australian Associated Press