Malcolm Turnbull

North Korea threatens to nuke Australia: report

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North Korea's foreign ministry says Australia will come "within the range" of a nuclear strike if it persists in following the US in isolating North Korea.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has reportedly sparked a threat of nuclear retaliation from North Korea after saying the rogue nation will be subject to further Australian sanctions.

North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency on Saturday quoted a foreign ministry spokesman accusing the Australian foreign minister of "spouting a string of rubbish against the DPRK over its entirely just steps for self-defence".

"If Australia persists in following the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the US master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK."

Watch: Pence and Turnbull discuss North Korea 

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Ms Bishop said on Thursday that the sanctions were to send "the clearest possible message to North Korea, that its behaviour will not be tolerated, that a nuclear-armed North Korea is not acceptable to our region".

She also urged China to step up pressure on North Korea to stamp out its belligerent and illegal behaviour.

In the report from Pyongyang, the North Korean ministry spokesman accused the Australian government of "blindly and zealously toeing the US line" and said Ms Bishop had "better think twice" about the consequences of her "reckless tongue-lashing".

"It is hard to expect good words from the foreign minister of such government. But if she is the foreign minister of a country, she should speak with elementary common sense about the essence of the situation," the spokesman said.

Watch: Bishop talks with Japan on North Korea

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"It is entirely attributable to the nuclear threat escalated by the US and its anachronistic policy hostile to the DPRK that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to the brink of war in an evil cycle of increasing tensions."

North Korea's nuclear threat dominated talks on Saturday between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and US Vice President Mike Pence, with Mr Turnbull saying China had the leverage to influence North Korea.

Mr Pence praised Mr Turnbull for publicly calling on China to do more to pressure North Korea to dump its nuclear warheads and ballistic missile program.

Watch: Japan's call for action on North Korea

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