Malcolm Turnbull has dismissed a letter from North Korea as a rant against Donald Trump rather than a threat against Australia.
“It doesn’t actually say anything about Australia so much. It’s basically a rant about how bad Donald Trump is,” the Prime Minister told Melbourne’s radio 3AW.
Its main significance, he said, echoing Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s earlier response, was that North Korea seemed to be responding to increasing pressure being placed on the Pyongyang regime by the West and its own most powerful ally, China.
The letter from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) Foreign Affairs Committee was sent to Australia’s Indonesian Embassy from the North Korean embassy in Jakarta.
The open letter rambles, and in effect urges governments that want peace to “… discharge their due mission and duty in realising the desire of mankind for international justice and peace with sharp vigilance against the heinous and reckless moves of the Trump administration”.
It continues “The Foreign Affairs Committee… bitterly condemns the reckless remarks of Trump as an intolerable insult to the Korean people, a declaration of war against the DPRK and a grave threat to the global peace.”
The Open Letter to Parliaments of Different Countries was sent to “a lot of other countries”, Mr Turnbull said, but only Australia has, as yet, admitted receiving it.
Ms Bishop told a Sydney press conference the note was an “unprecedented” communication. “This is the first letter we can find that any Australian foreign minister has received from North Korea… it’s an open letter; this is not how they usually send messages around the world,” she said.
The letter apparently was drafted in response to a speech in which Mr Trump warned that the US could “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatened the US or its allies, and the unanimous condemnation by the UN Security Council, on September 11, of North Korea’s most recent – and largest – atomic bomb test.
No other countries have yet acknowledged receiving the letter from the DPRK. – Report aggregated by Shannen Findlay from web sources
The Joy of Kim: an entirely spontaneous show of applause erupts from an adoring crowd as the dictator Kim Jong-un attends a graduation ceremony. Photo from the Korean Central News Agency.