Kevin Rudd on North Korea

Kevin Rudd has finally decided that North Korea might pose a nuclear threat to Australia.

“What is uncertain is the current state of development of the North Korean long range missile program,” Mr Rudd said today.

“What we do know is this country, having gone from nowhere in terms of nuclear capabilities a couple of decades ago has come a long way. And its a threat to all of us, including Australia.”

Compare that to what Kevin Rudd said to Barrie Cassidy in 2004.

BARRIE CASSIDY: You were also critical of the Foreign Minister for his observation that North Korea could hit Sydney with a nuclear missile.

But if North Korea does represent a threat to Australia’s national security, then why not talk about it?

KEVIN RUDD: Again this is a question of the Foreign Minister’s competence at play, or his incompetence at play. Because last year I asked Mr Downer a question in Parliament about North Korea’s capacity when it comes to intercontinental ballistic missiles. And I asked him about that in particular, and he said to me that deployment of such missiles was some years away.

Then flip the clock forward to an Alan Jones interview last week in Sydney and suddenly Sydney is under immediate threat. Now frankly, either these missiles are deployed or they are not deployed.

And as of that interview, I asked Mr Downer if he would possibly give me a departmental briefing or an ONA briefing on this matter and they have been very slow in responding to that, although I notice his chief of staff rang mine yesterday to say that there might be one available next week.

You can’t simply be loose-lipped about such fundamental questions of national security. Frankly, people are asking themselves the question whether this Minister is up to the job anymore.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But you put out a press release last year and you insisted that in fact North Korea had the ability to hit northern Australia. So all you are arguing about is which part of Australia a missile could hit?

KEVIN RUDD: When it comes to the ICBM capacity and the debate which arose last year, that’s why we had questions raised in the Parliament about precisely the state of deployment of North Korea’s Taepo Dong 2 missiles. That is what was at issue there.

And Mr Downer, unscripted from anywhere that I can work out, goes on talkback radio in Sydney, scares the living hell out of people and says, “This is now deployed,” in the sense that these missiles are now capable of reaching Sydney.

All I’m saying is, on these matters, these are highly sensitive national security policy matters, he is the Foreign Minister and being so loose-lipped about all of this and simply letting things trip out the side of his mouth is not the way you go about doing your job if you are seriously seeking to represent this country’s foreign policy interest.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But you are accusing him of alarmist behaviour, but your press release at the time came complete with a map showing how the missile could hit northern Australia.

KEVIN RUDD: That statement of mine at the time referred to a US public publication, I believe from the office of the US Secretary of Defence, and what we were simply putting out then was the extent to which North Korea and its WMD capability at the time should have been contrasted to the missing weapons of mass destruction or the doubts about WMD in Iraq at that stage.

The Government was making public claims about Iraq’s stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. We said that the Iraq had WMD, that is absolutely true, but the Government went on to say that Iraq’s stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons were ready for use, could be given to terrorists, and that justified going to war, against the UN Security Council.

What we were saying in terms of our own region, there are plenty other WMD concerns here but Mr Downer has got a responsibility to get his language right on these questions.

I think Rudd owes Downer an apology – mind you Rudd owes the whole nation an apology.

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14 Responses to Kevin Rudd on North Korea

  1. Johno

    Expecting Rudd to recognize that he owes Downer an apology would require assume that is capable of normal human emotions. A tenuous assumption at the best of times.

  2. Louis Hissink

    How handy,

    manufacture a political problem to distract us from the real problem – the carbon taxing Canberrans.

    Actually one reason nuclear weapons are a bit of a joke is that instantaneous nuclear reactions need some specific physical conditions to work – basically ensuring that electric fields are balanced, among other “factors”.

    Exploding a nuclear device is not about getting a lump of uranium etc. One needs seriously expensive computing power to generate heuristic potentials for these weapons to work. One reason why there is a lack of proliferation of these weapons; AKG47’s are far more effective in achieving political goals.

  3. Louis Hissink


    You are heartless, (pun intended).

  4. wreckage

    There is absolutely no way NK can launch an ICBM and hit anything with it. Sadly they only need arty shells to hit SK.

  5. Sinclair Davidson

    In South African terminology I’m a ‘rooinek’ and was sometimes described as a ‘kaffir-boetie’. A Melbourne taxi driver (from Nigeria) did call me a ‘zulu’.

  6. You’re also an Engelsman.

    And I’m praying for a sloppy heart surgeon.

  7. wreckage

    I don’t want the man dead, just out of any part of the government.

  8. Abu Chowdah

    That’s a bit OTT, David. I don’t wish him any harm. I hope his op goes well.

  9. Myrddin Seren

    Goodness knows what smoke-and-mirrors Rudd is blowing.

    But, with the usual cautionary notes about accuracy, this report says Iran has North Korean missiles and warheads.

    Presumably, what Iran has to come up with is fissile material and trigger mechanisms.

    I guess we are lucky that in the immediate region, we don’t have state or non-state actors with the resources to acquire North Korean tech.

    Please recall that Rudd was recently reported by the Iranians to have lauded their regional politics – a claim Rudd has not denied.

    If the Middle East blows – one can assume he is possibly hedging his bets.

  10. Sinclair Davidson

    You’re also an Engelsman.

    That’s a slur on my good name.

  11. south

    Whenever Kevin Rudd speaks the first question to ask is “whose arse is it expedient for him to kiss by saying that?” I expect in this case it’s someone with influence at the UN who thought it was time for the North Korean issue to be raised again.

    The thought that North Korea would bother to attack any part of Australia is a joke, especially when their sworn enemies (South Korea & Japan) are much easier to hit and its nuclear program is only useful as a deterrent.

  12. perturbed

    Actually one reason nuclear weapons are a bit of a joke…

    A joke? Tell that to the Japanese.

    As for the rest of what you’re saying, it comes across as meaningless gibberish. Why not speak intelligible English?

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