North Korea has sent an "unprecedented" letter to Australia warning Canberra against supporting the US.
This is not the first time Pyongyang is threatening Australia for rallying behind Washington in the rapidly changing political atmosphere in the Korean peninsula. Nonetheless, the latest threat is one of a kind as the hermit kingdom's letter directly addresses the Australian parliament.
Pyongyang's letter was revealed by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Thursday, 19 October. She told Sky News that it was a rare move for the North to send such a note directly.
"This is an unprecedented step for North Korea to send a letter directly to another government in this way," said Bishop. "It's not the way they usually publish their global messages." She said most of the contents of the note were rants against US President Trump and little about Australia itself.
"If Trump thinks that he would bring the DPRK [the Democratic People's Republic of Korea – North Korea's official name], a nuclear power, to its knees through nuclear war threat, it will be a big miscalculation and an expression of ignorance," read the North Korean note, according to media reports from Australia.
"Trump threatened to totally destroy the DPRK ... it is an extreme act of threatening to totally destroy the whole world."
However, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, speaking to a local radio station on Friday, 20 October, tried to play down the contents of the letter and said other countries have also received similar messages. "It doesn't actually say anything about Australia, it is basically a rant about Donald Trump. They have sent it to a lot of other countries," said the Australian leader without mentioning any other country's name.
Turnbull added: "I think they are starting to feel the squeeze and that is because [of] China, to its great credit, notwithstanding the long and very close history with North Korea, is part of these global sanctions, including restricting oil exports into North Korea."
In an earlier threat against Australia, the North's Korean Central News Agency carried a report warning against "dangerous" moves by joining hands with the US. Against the backdrop of the visits made by Australian foreign and defence ministers, the North said there will be "disaster" if Australia does not scale down its support to the US.