North Korea: Malcolm Turnbull says initiating war would be 'suicide' for Kim Jong-un

North Korea: Malcolm Turnbull says initiating war would be 'suicide' for Kim Jong-un

North Korea: Malcolm Turnbull says initiating war would be 'suicide' for Kim Jong-un

Updated 31 August 2017, 8:25 AEST

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warns "the risk of war gets greater" each time North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un engages in a provocative acts like this week's launch of a missile over Japan.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has warned North Korea's leader that he will be signing a "suicide note" if he starts a war.

Earlier this week Kim Jong-un's regime launched another ballistic missile that flew over Japan, the latest in a string of provocative actions by Pyongyang, including threatening a missile strike near the US Pacific territory of Guam.

Speaking on Channel Nine's A Current Affair program, Mr Turnbull took aim at Mr Kim.

"If the leader of North Korea continues down this provocative track the risk of war gets greater all the time," he said.

"The reality, however, is that if he starts a war, he'll lose instantly, so it would in effect be a suicide note on his part."

Mr Turnbull said that China has the ability to "put the screws on North Korea economically".

"The key to doing that is for China to enforce the United Nations Security Council sanctions, which they said they will do," he said.

"China is his biggest economic relationship by far."

Mr Turnbull has also spoken with his Japanese counterpart about North Korea's most recent missile test.

The Prime Minister told Shinzo Abe that Australia welcomes Japan's efforts to ensure the UN Security Council condemns North Korea's actions.

Both leaders agreed that North Korea represents the most dangerous threat to peace in the region.

Meanwhile, former prime minister John Howard has also warned that Australia was right to worry about the threat posed by North Korea.

Mr Howard used a speech at the Asia Society in Sydney last night to talk about the regime.

"We should worry about it, because you have the ambitions of an evil man whose political balance one must have real concerns about, pursuing nuclear ambitions," he said.

Mr Howard said the relationship between the US and China is becoming all the more important.

"In this context and certainly against the backdrop of the cloud called North Korea hanging over us at the moment there is no bilateral relationship in the world that is more important than that between the United States and the People's Republic of China," he said.

"So much will hang on that and so much hangs on that for us in Australia.

"The two nations that have the capacity more than any others and I think of those two — China even more so than the United States — to bring about a change in attitude on the party of North Korea."