Washington: The US and Canada will next month co-host a meeting of foreign ministers from around the world, including India, to discuss North Korea‘s nuclear threat and ways to improve the effectiveness of the current pressure campaign against the reclusive nation.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland made the announcement during their meeting in Ottawa on Tuesday. The meeting will take place on January 16.
“With the convening of what we’re calling the Vancouver Group in mid-January, this is a convening of foreign ministers from the original sending states that were involved in the original Korean conflict.
The Vancouver Group include Australia, Belgium, Britain, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey.
“But we also obviously are including other important parties – the Republic of Korea, Japan, India, Sweden, and others, who we think are important to have engaged in this meeting,” Tillerson told reporters.
The participating countries at the level of foreign minister will be discussing how to improve the effectiveness of the current pressure campaign, Tillerson said.
“Are there other steps that could be taken to put additional pressure on the regime in North Korea, and how do we further take our diplomatic efforts forward? And then how do we prepare for the prospects of talk?” he said.
North Korea this year increased the pace of its missile programme. Since February, Pyongyang has fired off 23 missiles. On November 29, the North Korean leader said that his country had achieved full nuclear statehood after what he said was the successful test of a new missile capable of striking anywhere in the United States.
Fears of a catastrophic conflict between the US and North Korea spiked as the leaders of the two nations taunted each other, with the US President Donald Trump calling North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ‘Rocket Man’.
The pressure campaign is intended to lead to talks, Tillerson said, adding that the US led international community cannot talk unless North Korea is ready to talk.
“And I think as we’ve indicated, we’re waiting for them to indicate a readiness to talk. But what’s important for North Korea to know is that this pressure campaign will not abate. We will not be rolling any of it back. It will only be intensified as time goes by. It will remain in place until they agree to give up their,” Tillerson said.
Freeland said the meeting would demonstrate international solidarity against North Korea’s dangerous and illegal actions.
“We will use this gathering as an opportunity to advance our work on diplomatic efforts towards a more peaceful, prosperous, and nuclear-free future on the North Korean Peninsula and to demonstrate international solidarity in our condemnation of North Korea’s actions,” she said.
Freeland said the pressure on North Korea would increase until its behaviour changes.
“We’re confident that this campaign of international pressure will lead to the best outcome for the whole world, I think the only outcome for the whole world, which is a diplomatic path to a resolution of this crisis, a diplomatic path to the outcome that I think we all believe in, which is a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula,” she said in response to a question.