North Korea meeting in Vancouver kicks off with clear message: Give up your nuclear weapons

Canadian minister: ‘The pursuit of nuclearization will bring you neither security nor prosperity’

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, right, and Korean Foreign Affairs Minister Kang Kyung-wha listen as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks at the opening remarks of the meeting on Security and Stability on the Korean Peninsula in Vancouver on Tuesday. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

If North Korea wants freedom from sanctions and acceptance from the international community, it must end its nuclear weapons program, Canada and some of its closest partners insisted Tuesday as they kicked off a major international meeting aimed at ending Pyongyang’s ongoing “nuclearization.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her counterparts from 20 countries — including the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Britain — began the meeting in Vancouver with a unanimous missive to the North Korean government: give up your nuclear weapons.

“Our message is clear,” Freeland said. “The pursuit of nuclearization will bring you neither security nor prosperity. Investing in nuclear weapons will lead only to more sanctions and to perpetual instability on the peninsula.”

Canada and the U.S. are co-hosting the one-day meeting, which was called in response to concerns about North Korea’s growing nuclear and ballistic-missile capabilities.

The purpose, said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was to increase the “maximum-pressure campaign” on North Korea by clamping down on its efforts to evade sanctions through smuggling and other illicit activity.

Tillerson was expected to push participating countries, all of whom were invited because of their support for South Korea during the Korean War, to help stop North Korean smuggling by sea.

Yet he also delivered a warning to China and Russia, neither of which were invited to participate in the Vancouver meeting, and both of which have been accused of helping Kim Jong-Un’s regime skirt international sanctions.

“We all must insist on a full enforcement of UN Security Council sanctions, as this is the letter of law. We especially urge Russia and China in this matter,” Tillerson said.

“Full implementation is an essential measure for the security of their people, and a clear indication of their willingness to honour their international commitments. We cannot abide lapses or sanctions evasions.”

The North Koreans recently reached out to their South Korean brethren for the first time in years and will participate in next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, a development welcomed by Freeland and several other leaders.

However, those leaders say what Tillerson described as a “maximum-pressure campaign” against North Korea will continue until Kim Jong-Un and his regime agree to a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

“This year started with North Korea’s move towards an inter-Korean dialogue. However, there has not been any positive move in terms of resolving the nuclear and missile programs,” said Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

“Today’s foreign ministers meeting provides a timely opportunity to demonstrate an unwavering commitment of the international community to achieve complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

The participants, whose ranks include countries from around the world, are expected to spend the rest of the day behind closed doors, discussing how best to tighten sanctions against the North and possible avenues for diplomacy.

China and Russia have criticized the Vancouver meeting as a threat to peace efforts.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau conceded earlier this week that both China and Russia will be integral to securing peace on the Korean peninsula, but defended the meeting as one of several different efforts to resolve the conflict.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Have you seen Peter Webb?

Fifty-two-year-old man reported missing by family who last saw him July 9

UPDATE: 14-year-old pilot sets Guinness World Record at Langley airport

Mohd Shaikhsorab believes he is now the youngest pilot with the fewest hours logged to fly solo

Plenty of heroes in Thai cave rescue, says Langley diver

Erik Brown reflects on team effort that brought 12 boys and their coach to safety

Elvis sighted in Aldergrove

Live concerts set for Langley Cruise-In on Sept. 8

Township announces new Korean War memorial

A memorial stone from South Korea’s Gapyeong region will be installed at Derek Doubleday Arboretum

BC Games: Opening Ceremony from Laketown Ranch

Hundreds of athletes and thousands of volunteers, coaches, parents and officials

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

No decision on B.C. school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

The BC Review Board could not determine whether Gabriel Klein, 21, is fit to stand trial

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

Abbotsford’s Besse sisters: Vaulting to greatness at Summer Games

Local siblings heading to Cowichan to compete in equestrian

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Recent online kitten abuse video raises serious social media questions

UBC and UFV profs weigh in on the subject of online sharing, shaming, and our digital landscape

UPDATED: ICBC fights back against claims that it’s ‘ripping off’ B.C. RV drivers

Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the provincial government to open up ICBC to competition

Summerland issues State of Local Emergency in response to wildfire

Two homes under evacuation order; evacuation alert remains in place as result of wildfire

Most Read