VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets on Tuesday with nations that fought alongside the United States in the Korean War, seeking to tighten the economic rope around North Korea for its even as the hopes of diplomacy.
The meeting of 20 nations on the west coast of Canada comes days after an errant missile alert caused panic in Hawaii, a clear reminder of fears of conflict with the North after a year of growing tension.
The meeting in Vancouver, organized by Tillerson and his Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland, was called before the recent start of talks between North Korea and South Korea, the first in two years. The North restored a military telephone line and agreed to participate in the Winter Olympics to be held in February in the south, a close ally of the United States. UU
President Donald Trump has also expressed openness to talks with North Korea under the right circumstances. Despite the insults and dangerous threats he has exchanged with his leader Kim Jong Un, he suggested in an interview that the two leaders could have a positive relationship.
But Kim, widely seen as an attempt to breach the US. UU South Korea shows no sign of making concessions to Washington as its totalitarian government is about to perfect a nuclear-tipped missile that could hit the United States.
The Vancouver meeting aims to boost the campaign of "maximum pressure" that the Trump administration has advocated to deprive the North of revenues for the development of weapons. Officials will discuss cooperation in sanctions, preventing the spread of arms by North Korea, and diplomacy.
Brian Hook, Tillerson's senior policy advisor, said more needs to be done to intercept ships that conduct illicit trade with North Korea. He said the United States wants the United Nations to order a ban on entry to the port for such ships.
The meeting will be attended by foreign ministers and diplomats from nations that sent troops or humanitarian aid to the UN Command that supported South Korea in the fight against the Communist North and its allies during the Korean War from 1950-53. It is a diverse gathering of mostly European and Asian nations, as well as Australia, New Zealand and Colombia. Japan and South Korea also participate.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis would join a welcome dinner for delegates on Monday night.
China and Russia, who fought on the communist side in the war, oppose the meeting. They were not invited although they have the closest economic and diplomatic ties to North Korea.
Lu Kang, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told reporters that a meeting that "does not include important parts of the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula" can not solve it.
Hook said China and Russia would be informed later, and said the inter-Korean talks will not change Tuesday's agenda.
"We believe that this lobbying campaign remains the best way to force change in the behavior of Kim Jong Un and bring it to the negotiating table for meaningful discussions," he said.
The latest resolution of the UN Security Council against North Korea, adopted in December in response to a test of intercontinental ballistic missiles, calls on member states to seize vessels suspected of illegal trade with the North and authorizes interdictions in the territorial waters of a member state.
It also restricts North Korean imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products, and further cuts in its ability to raise revenues for its weapons programs. In combination with previous resolutions of the National Union, more than 90 percent of North Korea's public exports as of 2016 are now banned.
Tillerson told The Associated Press in a recent interview that calling the so-called "sending states" to the UN Command in the Korean War was deliberately done to show that diplomacy "has to be backed by a strong military alternative "
"It is only part of the need to impress on all parties the seriousness of this and the determination of the United States and others that we will not accept a nuclear North Korea," Tillerson said.
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