SYDNEY – The prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand expressed on Friday different positions over nuclear non-proliferation at a time of heightened tension in the Asia-Pacific region over North Korea’s repeated weapons testing.
At a joint press conference in Sydney after a bilateral meeting where various bilateral and multilateral matters were discussed, Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern committed to working together to arrest nuclear proliferation, but Turnbull asserted his opposition to signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that was passed in 2017, which New Zealand has already signed.
“We reconfirmed our commitment to doing all we can to ensure that the North Korean regime is brought to its senses and stops its reckless and illegal threats of nuclear war,” said Turnbull, while underlining that North Korea must abandon its nuclear program.
Ardern said New Zealand stood firm in its opposition to nuclear proliferation.
“It’s become part of our identity as a nation,” she said.
“I think it probably positions us well in an international environment,” the New Zealand PM added.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled on Wednesday a new nuclear weapon “invincible,” which reportedly can hit any target anywhere in the world.
The United States, too, is considering reinforcing its nuclear arsenal owing to repeated missile and nuclear tests by North Korea.