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13 January 2018, 04:09 | Devin Moran
Vancouver's North Korea meeting: Opaque agenda, odd group of participants
The summit, set to take place on January 16, will be co-hosted by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and will welcome ministers from 17 countries, including South Korea, India, Britain, France and the states that fought in the Korean War of 1950-53.
China's imports from North Korea plunged in December to their lowest level in dollar terms since at least the start of 2014, with trade curbed by United Nations sanctions aimed at persuading Pyongyang to abandon its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.
In response to North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear weapons testing, such as the launches of three intercontinental ballistic missiles and the detonation of a staged thermonuclear bomb created to level cities, the U.N. Security Council has imposed tough sanctions on the rogue regime. They include South Korea, Britain, the Philippines and Australia.
Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Amy Mills said Canada recognizes the essential role that China has to play in any diplomatic efforts involving North Korea, and has "repeatedly engaged" with it about the Vancouver meeting.
The ministers will discuss steps to thwart North Korea's evasion of sanctions, including through maritime interdiction, State Department Director of Policy Planning Brian Hook said in a press briefing.
He also said China and Russian Federation, which have not been invited, will be briefed on the discussions after the meeting.
Meanwhile, Tillerson and Kang will "have an opportunity to interact", he added, possibly alluding to bilateral talks.
Hook also referred to the renewed talks between the 2 Koreas over the North's participation of next month's Winter Olympics in the South.
North Korea agreed to send athletes as part of a delegation to the Games.
Yet without Russian Federation and China, both of which have been involved in the so-called Six-Party Talks aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to North Korea's nuclear program, it's unclear what the Vancouver meeting can really achieve.
"We do not consider it possible to support an event that could lead to an aggravation of the already tense situation on the Korean Peninsula ..."
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