Malcolm Turnbull calls N Korea ‘criminals’, urges HK to help

14-Nov-2017 Intellasia | SMH | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has accused North Korea of being one of the world’s most “cunning, sophisticated criminals,” involved in many serious crimes, including drug trafficking, in his strongest condemnation yet of the dictator Kim Jong-un.

And Turnbull told US president Donald Trump and China’s president Xi Jinping during a leaders’ retreat in Vietnam that their relationship is one of the “single most priorities for the world today,” urging them work together to pressure North Korea over is nuclear weapons programme.

“If they can see eye to eye and cooperate on North Korea, for example, that problem, that regime, will be brought back to its senses,” he said.

Speaking in Hong Kong where he urged financial regulators to crack down on North Korea’s financial dealings in the port city, Turnbull said North Korea should be seen as a criminal operation operating under the guise of a state.

“Whether it is arms, whether, whether it is cyber-crime, whether it is drugs they are constantly raising money to finance their nuclear programme,” he told reporters.

After spending hours with both Trump and Xi at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Danang over the weekend, Turnbull said the “personal chemistry” between the two leaders is “actually quite good”.

“They do see eye to eye. There will obviously be issues on which they don’t agree,” he said, adding that both leaders reaffirmed their commitments to United Nations sanctions on North Korea, and to a denuclearised Koran peninsular.

“Just being with them together… I believe they have a personal chemistry and understanding that will never eliminate interest in national interest and agendas, but I believe and am confident they can work together,” he said.

Turnbull said the Chinese are as frustrated with North Korea’s behaviour as everybody else and have the greatest economic leverage over the regime.

But he said China wants to pressure North Korea in a way that does not see the country collapse in a disorderly way with “all the consequences that would follow”.

“But I stress, the Chinese have been frustrated with North Korea’s conduct for a long time,” he said.

Turnbull urged countries attending Asia’s most important security summit in Manila this week to tighten economic and financial sanctions on North Korea.

“It is vital that particularly China and the United States work closely on that,” he said.

Turnbull said the subject of North Korea, as well as terrorism threats to the region after the four month siege of the southern Philippine City of Marawi, would dominate talks at the East Asia Summit which Trump and Xi will both attend.

Turnbull is scheduled to have a formal meeting with the Philippine’s foul-mouthed and boastful President Rodrigo Duterte where the men will discuss Australia’s commitment to send troops to the Philippines to train soldiers there in urban fighting and to boost intelligence sharing.

But not on Turnbull’s agenda will be Duterte’s so-called “war on drugs” that has left more than 14,000 mostly poor Filipinos dead, the highest number of civilian deaths in Asia since the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s.

Duterte has railed in the past over international condemnation of the killings, including calling former US president Barack Obama the “son of a whore.”

Turnbull will also steer clear of a joke Duterte made last year that he should have been first in line when inmates raped and killed an Australian missionary during a jail riot.

When Australia’s ambassador in Manila criticised the comments Duterte lashed out, telling Australia to stay out of from Philippine affairs.

During the first visit by a sitting Australian prime minister to Hong Kong since 1984, Turnbull promised Hong Kong authorities Australia would share information to support efforts to counter terrorism, transnational crime, money laundering and drug trafficking.


Category: Korea

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