North Korea writes letter to Australia warning about Donald Trump's 'heinous moves'

Jonathan Pearlman
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has engaged in a war of words with the US - AFP

North Korea has written a letter to Australia to complain about the “heinous and reckless moves” of Donald Trump and to warn of the global nuclear disaster that could result from any attempt to topple the regime in Pyongyang.

Dismissing the unusual letter as "basically a rant", Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was North Korea that had upped the nuclear threat level.

"It is North Korea that is threatening the stability of the world,” he told 3AW radio.

"That is the regime that has to return to its senses and stop this reckless conduct."

Mr Turnbull said the letter was also sent to other countries, though no others have yet been named.

North Korea | Kim Jong-un’s fiery relationship with the US

The letter, dated September 28, accuses the United States President of threatening to “totally” destroy North Korea. The document was sent via Pyongyang’s embassy in Indonesia and was addressed to the Parliament of Australia.

“It is an extreme act of threatening to totally destroy the whole world,” the letter says.

"If Trump thinks he would bring the DPRK [North Korea], a nuclear power, to its knees through nuclear war threat, it will be a big miscalculation and an expression of ignorance… From the first day of his office Trump has engaged himself in high-handed and arbitrary practice.”

Last weekend, North Korea’s state-run news agency directly threatened Australia, saying Canberra’s decision to allow US Marines to be based in the Northern Territory was a “suicidal act”. 

North Korea and the H-Bomb

The threat followed a visit by Australia’s ministers for foreign affairs and defence to South Korea. Australia has not had an embassy in Pyongyang since 1974, while North Korea closed its modest embassy in Canberra in 2008, apparently because it was considered too expensive to run.

Julie Bishop, Australia’s minister for foreign affairs, said the letter from Pyongyang indicated that international sanctions were working.

"I think this shows they are feeling desperate, feeling isolated, trying to demonise the US, trying to divide the international community," she told Fairfax Media.

"I read this as showing that the collective strategy of allies and partners to impose maximum pressure and diplomatic and economic sanctions on North Korea is working; this is a very unusual step of issuing an open letter of this character.”

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