The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has conducted air surveillance over North Korea to monitor illegal nuclear weapons development.
Two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon aircraft were deployed from Kadena Air Base in Japan as part of Operation Argos to enforce UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions on the totalitarian state.
This marks the 12th RAAF air patrol to monitor trade in the region.
A Collaborative Effort
ADF Chief of Joint Operations LGen Greg Bilton said in a press release that Australia is fully committed to nuclear non-proliferation and is set on maintaining order in the Indo-Pacific region alongside other nations.
“This operation is Australia’s contribution to a multinational effort, alongside Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States,” he said.
In 2021, the Royal Australian Navy joined the operations, with the Anzac-class frigate HMAS Ballarant joining the Argos fleet after the UNSC passed Resolution 2397 to intercept illicit oil traders doing business with North Korea.
Operation Argos is currently coordinated by the US Navy Seventh Fleet, headquartered in Kanagawa, Japan.
Why Upholding Sanctions Matters
The UNSC has upheld a number of resolutions to toughen up sanctions addressing North Korea’s growing weapons development.
To date, 23 of its 29 resolutions regarding Pyongyang relate to nuclear non-proliferation, with the goal of limiting the country’s trade industries and future nuclear and missile tests.
Australia has expanded its own sanctions on North Korea in the past, essentially prohibiting commercial activities with the state since 2017.