Australian Government coat of arms

Prime Minister of Australia

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP

Interview with David Koch, Sunrise

20 September 2017

Prime Minister

Subjects:

North Korea; Refugee resettlement

E&OE

DAVID KOCH:

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull joins us now. What a speech that was; name calling, suicide mission, totally destroying the country. Is that just inflaming the situation?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it’s stating the reality. It’s very important that North Korea understands that if it attacks the United States or its allies, as the President said, the United States will respond.

DAVID KOCH:

Right.

PRIME MINISTER:

And respond in a way that would end the North Korean regime. I mean it is a situation of increasing gravity and risk and it is vital that the UN - and this is where the President was speaking - increase the economic sanctions on North Korea, so that it can be brought to its senses without conflict.

DAVID KOCH:

What more do they need to do in terms of sanctions? We’ve been told - and Julie Bishop was just on the program the other day - saying the sanctions have just been introduced.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, one round has.

DAVID KOCH:

What more needs to be done?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well there’s one round has been introduced. About 10 days ago the Chinese started implementing them and the next round has just recently been approved and that will be reduce imports of oil into North Korea, for example by about a third. It will stop the export of textiles, for example. It will limit the ability for them to have their workers overseas, you know, travelling outside of North Korea and sending remittances back. But I guess it’s a question of constantly ratcheting it up. If the latest round of sanctions does not get a result, then they will have to do more.

DAVID KOCH:

Do we wait for North Korea to make the first strike before replying or do you think the United States will strike first? Is there a line in the sand?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well the United States has made it very clear, if there is an attack - as you just heard the President say - if there is an attack on the United States or its allies or the United States will respond and respond in a way that will bring an end to the North Korean regime.

DAVID KOCH:

And we’ll go in and fight with them?

PRIME MINISTER:

If America is attacked then under the ANZUS Treaty, we will come to America’s aid. If we are attacked, under that same treaty, America comes to our aid.

DAVID KOCH:

What does your gut say? Are you fearful at the moment, do you reckon there will be an attack?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don’t think this guy will commit suicide, because that’s the truth. I mean President Trump and I have said exactly the same thing; if he attacks the United States that is a suicide note for his regime.

Now, it is a disaster because many, many thousands will die and many, many thousands of innocent people will die. But the reality is, if North Korea decides to attack the United States or it’s allies, that will be the end of the regime.

DAVID KOCH:

The whole country will be wiped out.

PRIME MINISTER:

It will be. It will be.

DAVID KOCH:

Alright.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, it will be a massive attack, you know. A massive response that will end the regime, as the President said.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay, millions dead. Alright, matters closer to hand, refugees on Manus Island and Nauru.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, this is good news. This is good news. There will be - 

DAVID KOCH:

So the United States will accept them?

PRIME MINISTER:

The United States will, there will be about 25 from both Manus and Nauru will be going to the United States. I just want to thank again, President Trump for continuing with that arrangement.

DAVID KOCH:

So it’s a done deal? 50 going, 25 from each.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it’s around 25 from each –

DAVID KOCH:

Is that enough? We were hoping for a fair bit more weren’t we?

PRIME MINISTER:

This is the first stage.

DAVID KOCH:

Right.

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s all subject to the United States’ very, very thorough vetting, their extreme vetting. But we look forward to more refugees, people who have been judged to be refugees on Nauru and Manus, to be taken to the United States.

DAVID KOCH:

So 50 are definitely going?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, there are around 25 on each place, will be offered places in the United States. That’s the advice.

DAVID KOCH:

So that’s definite, in stone? How many are going through the process and have yet to come?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well there are many that are being vetted, but it is entirely up to the United States as to how many are taken. Because they’ve got to go through their vetting. Having said that –

DAVID KOCH:

Right, so how many are going through vetting?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, a large number, I don’t want to get into details Kochie. But I just want to acknowledge the United States is honouring that commitment. The fact –

DAVID KOCH:

So there’s goodwill from them?

PRIME MINISTER:

Sure.

DAVID KOCH:

To take not only these 50 but more if they pass the vetting?

PRIME MINISTER:

Correct. That’s exactly right.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay, alright.

PRIME MINISTER:

And that’s always been the arrangement.

DAVID KOCH:

He’s always hated the deal though, hasn’t he, Donald Trump? He berated you about this deal and said ‘no one would ever come here’.

PRIME MINISTER:

It was an arrangement that was entered into, I entered into with his predecessor Barack Obama.

DAVID KOCH:

Yeah and he says - 

PRIME MINISTER:

President Trump had some reservations about it to say the least, but nonetheless, he is honouring that commitment made by his predecessor and I want to thank you for doing so.

DAVID KOCH:

You’re being very diplomatic indeed.

[Laughter]

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you. I will take that as a compliment.

DAVID KOCH:

Good to see you.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thanks very much Kochie.

[Ends]