August 11, 2017

Australia would support the US Against North Korea, Prime Minister Turnbull says.

Over the last 24 hours Australia's Prime Minister Turnbull has declared that Australia, as an ally of the US, would come to the aid of the US, if the US went to war with North Korea (NK).

Turnbull's words were "America stands by its allies, including Australia of course, and we stand by the United States...So be very, very clear on that. If there's an attack on the US, the ANZUS Treaty would be invoked and Australia would come to the aid of the United States, as America would come to our aid if we were attacked."

When Turnbull was specifically asked what would happen in the event of an attack on the US territory of Guam, Turnbull said: “We would come to the aid of the United States. Now, how that manifests itself will obviously depend on the circumstances and the consultations with our allies [which includes New Zealand under ANZUS].”


If NK carried out its threat to fire missiles at the US Territory of Guam this might be a trigger for a US counter-strike against NK. If NK's action is judged "an attack on the US" Australia might then send air and/or sea units to reinforce US forces facing NK.

Australian military assets that might conceivably work with US forces could include:

Aircraft, for example, Australian:

-  AP-3C Orions and/or P-8 Poseidons to patrol against NK submarines, NK ships and boats.
-  Boeing 737 (platform) E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft
-  Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aerial refueling aircraft
-  possibly Australian F/A-18/F and/or F/A-18A strike aircraft, and
-  EA-18G (Growler) electronic jamming aircraft

Perhaps ships, including:

-  2 Anzac class and/or Adelaide class frigates. 
-  Australia's first Air Warfare Destroyer, HMAS Hobart, is unlikely to be commissioned in time.
-  For the frigates' long voyage north 1 replenishment ship (HMAS Sirius or HMAS Success
-  Collins submarines for blocking defence, closer to Australian waters.

A form of Australian assistance to the US already is the Australian missile tracking station at Pine Gap near the town of Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia. Pine Gap is an Earth/ground station which works with satellites to detect North Korean, Chinese and Russian missiles being launched and helps determine their flight direction. The Gap is jointly run by Australian and US agencies.

It is still unclear what South Korea, Japan, China and Russia might do given their geographic proximity to North Korea.



GhalibKabir said...

to state the obvious, China is the silent puppet master here for NK and has been in one way or the other since Mao's thugs crossed over the Yalu River 6 decades plus ago. They will I assume keep up pretence as long as chubby boy in Pyongyang decides not to go loco and attack US territory anywhere...

AFAIK, the Chinese military via the CMC is itching to turf out the US from the Western Pacific and might even risk confrontation with Uncle Sam if Trump carries out his threat of fire and brimstone it is Xi Jinping is feigning insult to his 'magnanimity'to the US on NK....

The South Koreans will be very worried by the artillery barrage the NKeans can throw at Seoul, the biggest danger lies there.

The Russians well... papa Putin might create indirect nuisance at the UNSC etc by preventing any resolutions just for the heck of it or as a pay back for sanctions or both.

Anonymous said...

NK also threatened Australia, not just Guam. As to the Japanese, they do have Aegis BMD with their SM-3 to attempt to shoot down NK's IRBM and MRBM. It is time for Japan to hurry and purchase either AEGIS ashore or THAAD. Their Patriot are not going to be effective against MRBM.
ROK does not have AEGIS BMD so they will have to depend on the US THAAD (ROK only allows 1 battery and they must regret that now) or US Aegis. ROK does have Patriot so they can defend against SRBM.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Denense Minister, Mr. Ononodera said right of collective self-defense exercise could be applied to intercept NK ballistic missiles for Guam (

USA and Japan will adopt two stage intercept plans: i) USA is going to intercept by using SM3s from USA Aegis destroyers deployed near NK sea area and THAAD from Andersen Air Force Base at Guam, and ii) Japan is going to intercept by using SM3s from JMSDF Aegis destroyers and PACs deployed deployed at related prefectures. But, there is no guarantee to intercpt missiles. USA and Japan failed to intercept by using SM3 Block 2A at Hawaii on Jun/21.

Russian news paper pointed out NATO has is no obligation to protect Guam Island, because Guam is exemption area of NATO Charter (

USA can defete NK easily, but, Japan may be at risk of retaliatory terrorism from NK. Support by Australia will help USA, this also provide risk of terrorism. Peaceful solution to avoid a military conflict is needed, but, NK has tricked International society so many times. I really hope nothing will happen.


Peter Coates said...

Australia's Rod Lyon, at ASPI presents an excellent discussion of what actions Australia should or could take to support the US under ANZUS in any conflict with North Korea. See "North Korea, war and ANZUS" August 16, 2017

eg, Rod Lyon writes:

"Some commentators believe [Australia] ought to have a parliamentary debate to think about that. Really? What do we have to think about? Article 4 [of the ANZUS Treaty] states:

"Each Party [ie Australia, US and New Zealand] recognizes that an armed attack in the
Pacific Area on any of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and
declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its
constitutional processes."