Stephen Smith MP
Minister for Defence
An Australian Defence Force representative today observed the Republic of Korea’s live fire exercise from Yeonpyeong Island.
The Republic of Korea’s live fire exercise was a routine training activity conducted on Republic of Korean territory and within Republic of Korean territorial waters south of the Northern Limit Line.
The Republic of Korea’s military took all the usual and appropriate steps to advise North Korea of the exercise, and did not inflict any damage on North Korea or its territory.
Australia has observed this exercise in its capacity as a contributing nation to the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC).
Australia’s Defence Attaché to the Republic of Korea serves as Liaison Officer to UNCMAC.
UNCMAC plays an important role in supervising the Armistice Agreement that ended the Korean War in 1953.
The involvement of UNCMAC Liaison Officers in this exercise highlights the importance of its role in supervising the Armistice Agreement.
Australia supports the sovereign right of the Republic of Korea to conduct military exercises within the terms of the 1953 Armistice Agreement. Australia urges North Korea to comply with the terms of that agreement.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) met overnight in a closed emergency session (19 December New York time) to discuss the situation on the Korean peninsula. Regrettably the UNSC failed to reach agreement.
Australia is deeply disappointed that some UNSC members failed to agree to condemn North Korea’s 23 November attack against the Republic of Korea.
Australia continues to strongly urge China and Russia to increase pressure on North Korea to cease its hostile and provocative acts and meet its international obligations.
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