Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Friday that his nation is prepared to help the US in the event of a North Korean attack.
His comments come after UN Security Council sanctions have been ineffective in deterring North Korea from developing nuclear weapons, and Pyongyang said this week it had a plan to fire four missiles at the US territory of Guam.
“America stands by its allies, including Australia of course, and we stand by the United States,” Turnbull told local radio 3AW on Friday. “So, be very, very clear on that. If there is an attack on the US, the Anzus Treaty would be invoked and Australia would come to the aid of the United States, as America would come to our aid if we were attacked.”
The Anzus Treaty is a security agreement signed in 1951 between the United States, Australia and New Zealand during at the onset of the Korean War. Signatories are compelled to “consult” and “act to meet the common danger” if one is attacked. The United States and New Zealand suspended their obligations to one another in the 80s but Australia invoked the treaty in 2001 when it sent troops to Afghanistan to aid the US after the 9/11 attacks.
Turnbull described the US alliance as “the absolute bedrock of our national security.”
“Now, how that manifests itself obviously will depend on the circumstances and the consultations with our allies,” he said.
The “circumstances” to which Turnbull refers are the threats issued back and forth between President Donald Trump and Pyongyang. Trump has made it clear that military intervention is on the table, but virtually every other American politician has called for a more peaceful stance. Undoubtedly, the public only knows a fraction of the entire North Korea story, as the US has reportedly been engaging in secret talks with Pyongyang for months.
China, which just voted to sanction North Korea, has said it would defend their neighbor in the event of a US attack. If North Korea launches an attack against the United States first, the Chinese government says that it will stay neutral.
If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime, and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so,” reported the Global Times, a daily Chinese newspaper controlled by the Communist Party.
Despite China’s position, other Asia-Pacific countries are now coming out in support of the United States in the event of a North Korean nuclear attack.
Japan’s defense minister, Itsunori Onodera, said this week that his nation’s military was ready to shoot down North Korean nuclear missiles, if necessary.
Meanwhile, General Mattis warned on Thursday that war with North Korea would be catastrophic.
Mattis, who was in California at the time, told a group of reporters the following: “The American effort is diplomatically led, it has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results and I want to stay right there right now.”
Pressed by reporters to indicate whether the United States is prepared to fight in a war against North Korea, Defense Sec. Mattis replied, “I don’t tell the enemy in advance what I’m going to do … We’re ready.”
General Mattis asked reporters, “How often to do you see France, China, Russia, the U.S. voting unanimously on any issue?” His question followed his reminder that the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted last week to mark North Korea as a “threat to the world’s community.”
It is safe to say the geopolitical pieces are scattered about, with no complete puzzle in sight.
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BREAKING: North Korea issues new threat at U.S., Pentagon responds