Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he has spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping on the North Korean issue, and insists his request “is not falling on deaf ears”.
World leaders meeting for the G20 in Hamburg have been discussing ways to calm tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Two US bombers have undertaken drills with South Korean and Japanese fighter jets in response to the “growing threat from North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs,” a US Air Force statement said late Friday.
Mr Turnbull said President Xi communicated the difficult position China is in.
“I think you can assume that the Chinese position is that the situation is not as straightforward, as others assert,” Mr Turnbull said.
“And that their influence over North Korea is not as great as others assert.”
But Mr Turnbull said Australia’s position on North Korea remains unchanged.
“It’s a very grave conflict on the Korean Peninsula, and I think China has to step up and take more responsibility.
“It has the ability, if it were to impose the economic sanctions thoroughly, and greater sanctions, it would be able to put the economic lock on North Korea, and that is one way that that regime could be brought to its senses, without conflict.”
Malcolm Turnbull will exit the politically-charged G20 summit in Hamburg on Saturday to head to Paris for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.
The prime minister and President Macron are expected to discuss countering terrorism, boosting trade and Australia’s submarine contract.
A former civil servant and merchant banker, Mr Macron won the presidential elections in May, becoming the youngest person to hold the position in his country since Napoleon.
Unlike Mr Turnbull, who hangs on to power with a one-seat majority in the Australian parliament, Mr Macron’s La Republique En Marche party with its ally the Democratic Movement has an outright majority of more than 300 seats.
It will be an early opportunity for the two leaders to form a close working relationship.