PM emphasises Australia's solidarity with South Korea

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has reconfirmed Australia's support for South Korea during a phone call with President Park Geun-hye last night.

Ms Gillard told Mr Geun-hye Australia was concerned about North Korea's increasingly "provocative actions and statements", saying they posed a threat to security in the region.

The Prime Minister emphasised Australia's solidarity with South Korea and the importance of the strong bilateral partnership enjoyed by the countries.

Australia would continue to call on North Korea to end its provocative actions, Ms Gillard said, agreeing that international pressure on North Korea was critical.

Mounting tensions on the Korean peninsula are expected to feature during talks between Australia and China over the coming week.

North Korea enflamed tensions this week after Kim Jong-un reportedly gave his military the green light for attacks on United States bases in the region. It drew a stern response from South Korea, which vowed to retaliate against any such attacks.

China is a traditional supporter of the rogue communist state, but is thought to be rethinking its North Korea policy.

Ms Gillard left this morning to lead a high-level delegation to China. She is being accompanied by senior minister Craig Emerson, Bob Carr and Bill Shorten.

The Prime Minister will participate in the Bo'ao Forum for Asia and will meet with China's new president and premier.
It is her second visit to China as prime minister.