US missile defence 'not suitable for Australia'

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrives for the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, on July 7, 2017.
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrives for the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, on July 7, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

HAMBURG • Australia will press ahead with a missile defence programme to protect its forces, but a United States shield system is not appropriate, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) system mentioned in recent briefings is "not really suitable for our situation", he told reporters on Friday following North Korea's successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

"The answer in respect of North Korea is the de-nuclearisation of North Korea and for it to stop its reckless conduct, its reckless and provocative conduct," Mr Turnbull said. "The nation with, overwhelmingly, the greatest leverage over North Korea is China. And so we look to China to bring North Korea to its senses."

The Australian government is bolstering its weaponry and military forces partly in response to the "growing threat posed by ballistic and cruise missile capability" and their proliferation in the Indo-Pacific and Middle East regions, the Department of Defence said in a report last year. While the threat of an ICBM attack on Australia is "low", longer-range and submarine-launched ballistic and cruise missiles could threaten Australian territory, and shorter-range ballistic and cruise missiles pose a threat to deployed forces.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 09, 2017, with the headline 'US missile defence 'not suitable for Australia''. Print Edition | Subscribe