Canada, US to host NKorea talks

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OTTAWA: Canada and the United States announced on Tuesday they will host a summit of foreign ministers in Vancouver on January 16, including envoys from Japan and South Korea, to seek progress on the North Korean nuclear crisis.

“We believe a diplomatic solution to the crisis is essential and possible,” Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told a joint press conference with visiting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Tillerson said the meeting would seek to further increase pressure on North Korea to come to the table to negotiate an end to its nuclear program.

This could include “other steps that could be taken to put additional pressure on the regime in North Korea,” as well as preparing for the prospects of talks, he said.


GETTING READY Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) shakes hands with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the start of a meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila). AFP PHOTO

“We [will]continue to find ways to advance the pressure campaign against North Korea,” Tillerson said, “to send North Korea a unified message from the international community that we will not accept you as… a nuclear weapons nation, and that all of us share one policy and one goal—the full complete verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

“It’s all intended to lead to talks. Otherwise we wouldn’t need to do this. We would just go straight to the military option,” he said.

“The White House supports diplomatic talks,” Tillerson added, dismissing suggestions of a rift between US President Donald Trump and his chief diplomatic.

Freeland said Canada and the United States “are aligned with the rest of the world in our position that these provocative and illegal acts cannot be tolerated. We fully support regional and international efforts to address the North Korean threat and the work of the UN Security Council.”

The so-called Vancouver Group will also include Australia, Belgium, Britain, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey. AFP

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