HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Friday, October 13, 2006

Military action an option for N Korea: Howard

MILITARY action, a blockade and sanctions against "irrational" North Korea are being considered following its nuclear weapons test, Prime Minister John Howard said today as China and South Korea met over the crisis.

Mr Howard said US President George W. Bush believed the UN Security Council would pass a strong resolution to impose sanctions on North Korea, which conducted an underground nuclear test on Monday saying more would follow.

"The president is cautiously optimistic that a strong resolution with the support of the major powers in the Security Council will be passed," he told Southern Cross Broadcasting following a phone conversation with Mr Bush.

Mr Howard said all options, including a blockade, trade sanctions and military action against the Stalinist state, were on the table.

"It's a real dilemma because nobody wants military conflict but you are dealing with a country that doesn't seem to respond to the sort of pressure and the sort of situations that other countries respond to - it's not rational," he said.

But he said Australia would not act without an internationally sanctioned understanding and until diplomatic means had been exhausted.

In Beijing, Chinese President Hu Jintao and his South Korean counterpart Roh Moo-Hyun met today amid international pressure to find a tough response to the North's nuclear test.

China is recognised as North Korea's closest ally and South Korea has long championed a policy of engagement with the impoverished Stalinist state.

Roh met Hu just before midday (0400 GMT) for 40 minutes of planned talks, China's official Xinhua news agency said, with both sides saying beforehand North Korea's announced tested of a nuclear bomb would be firmly on the agenda.

No other details about their meeting were immediately available.

China led world condemnation of Monday's test and initially called for punitive action against Pyongyang, while South Korea said it may consider abandoning its "sunshine policy" that has helped prop up the bankrupt communist state since 1998.

Mr Howard's comments came a day after he described North Korea's "seriously crazy regime" as a huge problem for the whole world.

As one of the few nations to maintain diplomatic ties with North Korea, Australia - a close ally of the US - has been a key intermediary in efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis.

Howard said North Korea's actions would be humiliating for China, the one country in the world that was seen as able to control Pyongyang.

"It's also a big worry that a country as erratic and bizarre as North Korea has broken significantly free of the influence of a country that might be likely to restrain it in other circumstances."

Australia has urged the UN Security Council to impose tough sanctions on Pyongyang and is no longer issuing visas to North Koreans except under special circumstances approved personally by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

Like the US and Japan, Australia wants the Security Council to invoke Chapter VII of the UN charter which provides for mandatory sanctions or, as a last resort, military action in response to threats to international peace and security.

Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org