A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will deploy to Japan to monitor North Korean vessels suspected of transferring prohibited goods in defiance of UN sanctions.
The deployment is part of Australia’s efforts to support the enforcement of United Nations Security Council resolutions in the region and to maintain both economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea.
Minister for Defence Marise Payne said while Australia was pleased to see North Korea’s halt on nuclear weapons testing, Australia will continue to maintain economic and diplomatic pressure on the nation.
"We welcome North Korea’s announcement of a halt to ballistic missile and nuclear weapons testing and … [the] historic inter-Korean dialogue, to work for the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula," Minister Payne said.
"However, along with our partners, we will continue to apply maximum pressure on North Korea until it takes concrete and verifiable steps to denuclearise."
Australia will work with both Canada and the United States in its role to uphold this pressure, with reports suggesting the P-8A Poseidon will operate out of the US’ Kadena Air Base in Japan.
It is believed that North Korea has been using vessels to evade UN sanctions and import materials for its nuclear weapons program.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said any vessels found to be responsible for these crimes will be held to account.
"What has been occurring is that sanctions have been evaded by transferring materials from ship to ship so obviously being able to surveil, to add to the surveillance of the area enables that to be identified and then of course those who are party to that, to be held responsible and brought to account," the prime minister said.