Top diplomats from about 20 countries are gathering in Canada to discuss how to best handle the nuclear and missile programs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. But critics said the absence of some key players could undermine the meeting.
CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports from Vancouver.
A mistaken missile warning sent the U.S. state of Hawaii into a panic this weekend, providing a reminder of what many nations see as the growing threat posed by the DPRK.
In recent months, Pyongyang has defiantly test-fired more and more missiles, with leader Kim Jong-un making clear he would strike the U.S. if provoked.
American President Donald Trump has made containing the DPRK a top priority, pressing Beijing to press Pyongyang. Trump has also taken a more forceful approach at times, warning that the U.S. would attack if necessary.
But last week, signs emerged that diplomacy may have a chance, with representatives from the Republic of Korea and the DPRK meeting for the first time in two years.
And this week in Canada, more than a dozen diplomats are gathering at a conference co-hosted by the U.S. The participants largely represent the so-called “Sending States,” which sent forces in support of the South’s fight against Pyongyang during the Korean War in the 1950s.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the gathering will serve as an opportunity to work on a diplomatic approach to creating a “prosperous and nuclear-free future” for the Korean Peninsula, while also showing solidarity against Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear testing.
The U.S. will co-chair the event.
“We will not accept you as a nuclear nation, a nuclear weapons nation,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. “All of us share one policy and one goal, and then I urge the full complete verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in spoke to his nation in an annual address, saying his goal is avoiding conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
While American officials have argued the Vancouver Conference is about sending a unified message from the international community, several countries are noticeably absent from the gathering. Russia and China, which both border the DPRK and have veto power at the U.N. Security Council, will not be in attendance.
For its part, Beijing refused to confirm if it was even asked to attend.
“Whether Canada has invited us or not is not important. In a context that all relevant parties are proactively discussing how to properly handle the Korean peninsula issue, it is strange that some relevant parties are using Cold War approaches,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said. “So from the beginning, China believes such a meeting is meaningless and we are resolutely opposed to it.”
China favors the U.N. Security Council and the Six-Party talks, which include Pyongyang and Seoul. Beijing hosted the talks until they broke down nearly a decade ago.
The Canadians and Americans announced the conference back in December, though with some disagreement about the invite list. But critics, including Japan, which is attending, said the approach may not be relevant if the relevant players aren’t here. The burden now is on the hosts to prove otherwise.
Rodger Baker on Canada hosting diplomats and DPRK-ROK’s border talks
CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke to Rodger Baker, vice president of Asia-Pacific analysis at the intelligence firm Stratfor. Mike asked him if it’s a mistake for China to not be included in the talks in Canada.