Donald Trump says a probe into his alleged links with Russia is ‘the greatest witch hunt in US history’.
FOREIGN Minister Julie Bishop has endorsed US President Donald Trump’s controversial idea to have a face-to-face meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Mr Trump was slammed by human right advocates when he said earlier this month that he would be “honoured” to meet with the dictator “under the right circumstances”.
Speaking to reporters in New York on Thursday afternoon, Ms Bishop said the Turnbull Government encouraged any new ideas that could curb the rogue nation’s provocative military moves.
“We have come to a stalemate when it comes to North Korea,” she said outside the United Nations headquarters.
“Despite many years of urging North Korea to cease its dangerous and risky behaviour, it has continued to test ballistic missiles, it’s continued its nuclearisation program, so we welcome any new, fresh ideas that the new administration has in dealing with North Korea.”
Ms Bishop is in New York to launch Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council and meet with dignitaries.
She sat down with the United States’ ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, on Thursday afternoon and had a “very long discussion” about North Korea, among other topics.
“The United States is looking to work with China to see if we can curb North Korea’s behaviour and it will be a matter that China and the United States will need to lead on for North Korea does pose a direct threat to our region,” she said.
“It poses an absolutely direct threat to South Korea, a very close friend and partner of Australia’s, and so we are concerned to ensure that North Korea is stopped from continuing to nuclearise and continuing in its ambitions to build an intercontinental ballistic missile that is capable of hitting the United States with a nuclear payload.
“It must be stopped in its tracks in that kind of provocative, risky, dangerous behaviour.”
Mr Trump has been criticised for sharing classified military information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about Islamic State, but Ms Bishop said she was not concerned about the President’s discussions.
“The conversations the President has had are, to our understanding, within the type of conversations that one would expect leaders to hold,” she said.
“So, we continued to have a very high level of confidence in our security and intelligence relationship with the United States.”
Ms Bishop’s trip to the US comes at a tumultuous time for Mr Trump, with Democrats threatening to impeach him after he reportedly asked former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey to abandon its probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s links to the Russians.
But Ms Bishop expressed confidence that the Trump administration would continue to govern.
“I believe that the US administration is governing appropriately for the people of this country,” she said.
“Our interest, of course, lies in ensuring that the United States remains a strong and powerful nation.
“It is our most important security partner, its our strategic ally, one of our most important — if not our most important — economic partner, given that the United States is the largest source of foreign direct investment into Australia. It is our second-largest trading partner after China.
“So, of course we want to see the US administration succeed, as we’ve wanted every US administration to succeed.”
Ms Bishop also met with the chairman of Mr Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, Stephen Schwarzman, during her New York trip.