DONALD Trump has “hired” Malcolm Turnbull to help deal with – and win over – Chinese leaders in a bid to help prevent a nuclear nightmare on the Korean Peninsula.
In a 30-minute phone call between the two leaders, which included Mr Trump declaring “we have your back”, it can be revealed the US President yesterday sought advice from the Prime Minister about how Australia connects with China, given its longstanding relationship with its biggest trading partner.
Specifically, Mr Trump sought Mr Turnbull’s views on dealing with China and maintaining a good relationship with Chinese leaders.
The Prime Minister provided advice during the call, described as “very warm” and “very constructive” by Mr Turnbull.
Many countries want China to enforce strong economic sanctions on Pyongyang.
“We are absolutely of the one mind in condemning this reckless conduct,’’ Mr Turnbull said yesterday of Kim Jong-un’s H-bomb and missile tests.
“We discussed the importance of the full enforcement of the current sanctions regime and the importance of additional sanctions which of course are under consideration at the moment, being imposed in the future.
“While we both recognise that China is not responsible for North Korea’s conduct … China does have the greatest leverage by far and we both continue to encourage China to bring more economic pressure to bear on North Korea to bring this regime to its senses.
“We also discussed the important battle that is being waged against ISIL around the world but in particular now in our region, in the Philippines, and … both Australia and the US are providing assistance to the Philippines Government in that struggle to clear that ISIL insurgency out of Marwari.
“We also, of course, discussed the recent terrible floods and hurricane damage in the US and I extended to the President … Australia’s sympathy and … we reflected on our common experience in dealing with natural disasters, of this kind.
“As you know, there is another hurricane currently bearing down on Florida which is also a massive storm system. But we both have experience in dealing with that and we agreed we should continue to compare our practices of building up resilience and mitigation and disaster relief.
“Everybody wants to get this dangerous situation resolved, bring this reckless, dangerous, provocative regime to its senses without conflict.
“A conflict would be catastrophic – everyone understands that. The best avenue to achieve that, that we can see, is continued enforcement of strong economic sanctions, and, of course, the country with the biggest lever in that regard is China.”
It comes as UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also told his MPs: “China, which accounts for 90 per cent of North Korea’s overseas trade, has a unique ability to influence the regime and the House can take heart from the fact that Beijing voted in favour of the latest sanctions resolution and condemned Pyongyang’s actions in the most unsparing terms.
“I call on China to use all of its leverage to ensure a peaceful settlement of this grave crisis.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Australia must use its influence to promote a peaceful resolution to the crisis, “and I hope this phone call goes some way to achieving this”.
News Corporation Network