Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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China’s relationship with North Korea

The launch of two intercontinental ballistic missiles by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or ‘North Korea’) on 4 July and 28 July of this year induced a rapid reaction from Western states. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop described the 4 July launch as ‘provocative’, while the Government referred to the 28 July launch as ‘reckless and menacing’. Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson condemned the launches, noting that ‘global action is required to stop a global threat’. Secretary Tillerson further stated that ‘any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military ben... Read more...

Australia upgrades sanctions on North Korea

On 2 June 2017, while the United States continued to pressure China to act in restraining North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK), Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that she had designated five North Korean individuals for ‘targeted financial sanctions and travel bans because of their association with North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction or missiles programs’. Read more...

Korea passes ETS but details are hazy

Legislation for a mandatory greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme (ETS) has passed South Korea's unicameral National Assembly with bipartisan support. However, many important details have still to be finalised. This FlagPost provides a summary of the Korean scheme with a little bit of background.  With a planned start date of 1 January 2015, the Korean ETS is expected to cover at least 450 entities and about 60 per cent of national greenhouse gas emissions. All industries and buildings are included in the scheme and must participate if their annual emissions exceed the annual emissions threshold for liability. The threshold has been set at 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, which... Read more...

A return to the Six-Party Talks?

In diplomacy, as in comedy, timing is everything. Recent diplomatic signals suggest that the time for a return to the Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program has arrived—even if the incentives of the participating countries do not match.The Six-Party Talks, involving North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the United States, seek a negotiated end to the North Korean nuclear weapons program. The talks started in August 2003 and have been effectively stalled since 2008. Since that time, relations between the two Koreas have deteriorated, culminating in the March 2010 sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan and the November 2010 North Korean shelling of Yeon... Read more...

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