Australia Ready to Back U.S., Will Join Any Conflict with North Korea

CANBERRA, Australia — Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says if North Korea directly launches an attack on the United States mainland or any of its overseas territories including Guam, Australia will immediately join the conflict.

“America stands by its allies, including Australia of course, and we stand by the United States,” Mr Turnbull told local radio station 3AW on Friday morning.

“So be very, very clear on that. If there’s 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 binds the U.S., Australia and New Zealand together in a defense pact covering military matters in the Pacific Ocean region. It provides that an armed attack on any of the three parties would be dangerous to the others, and that each should act to meet the common threat.

Mr Turnbull also revealed he had discussed North Korea’s behaviour with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence overnight, calling it “the most dangerous flashpoint in the world today, ” adding the terms of the Australia-U.S. alliance were clear.

“But be under no misapprehension, in terms of defence, we are joined at the hip,” he said. “The American alliance is the absolute bedrock of our national security. If there is an attack on the U.S. … we would come to their aid.

“Now, how that manifests itself obviously will depend on the circumstances and the consultations with our allies.”

Mr Turnbull confirmed Australia and the U.S. both still believed tough new sanctions on North Korea could force the rogue nation to abandon its nuclear weapons program in favor of a return to international diplomacy.

“[The Vice-President’s] view and the view of the administration is that the way to resolve the situation with North Korea … is through these economic sanctions. That’s the preferred way to deal with it,” he said.

“But of course if North Korea decides to carry out some of its violent threats then obviously terrible consequences will follow, and there’s no point ducking that inevitable consequence.”

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