SYDNEY – Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Friday that Australia would support the United States if North Korea decided to attack the US, following a heated exchange of threats between Washington and Pyongyang.
“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,” Turnbull told 3AW Radio.
Turnbull added that in the event of an attack, “how that manifests itself obviously will depend on the circumstances and the consultations with our allies.”
The Australian Premier already discussed the issue in a telephone conversation with US Vice President Mike Pence, whom he assured that Australia’s commitment to support the US is “rock-solid.”
In 1951, Australia, New Zealand and the United States signed the ANZUS Security Treaty Alliance, which was last invoked by the Australian government following the 9/11 terror attacks in the US.
The Pyongyang regime announced earlier in August that it is preparing to fire four mid-range missiles in mid-August towards waters near Guam, a US territory located in the Western Pacific where strategic US Navy and Air Force bases are stationed.
Trump previously responded to the threat saying that the United States is ready to respond to North Korean attacks on Guam “with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” and also announced an increase in the spending on anti-missile systems amid escalating tensions with North Korea.
According to the US intelligence service, North Korea could already have a nuclear warhead small enough to mount on an intercontinental missile.
Turnbull said the Australian Defense Department does not consider the deployment of an anti-missile system, such as the US’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, necessary for Australia due to the vast size of the country’s territory.
“THAAD is designed to provide protection for relatively small areas against short-to-medium-range missiles, so it’s deployed in Israel, it’s deployed in South Korea,” the premier said, adding that “It’s not designed to provide protection against long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles of the sort North Korea has recently tested.”