Foreign Ministers Gather in Vancouver open the window of AOD

Write : 2018-01-21


As the two Koreas draw closer ahead of next month's Olympics, top diplomats from 20 nations met in Vancouver and reaffirmed their commitment to continued sanctions and pressure on North Korea.
Foreign ministers from 20 countries gathered Tuesday to discuss diplomatic efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis and expressed support for the ongoing inter-Korean talks.
They also adopted a statement after the conference agreeing to consider unilateral sanctions and diplomatic actions that go beyond existing UN Security Council resolutions.
In the meeting jointly hosted by the U.S. and Canada, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said that Seoul will make the most of the new opening in inter-Korean dialogue, but it is well aware that sustained improvements in inter-Korean relations cannot take place without efforts to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue.
She stressed that denuclearization is a key component of realizing lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that North Korea will continue to face sanctions until it takes "decisive steps" to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
He also rejected a freeze-for-freeze approach in which he said "legitimate defense and military exercises are placed on the same level of equivalency as North Korea's unlawful actions."
The freeze-for-freeze proposal, backed by China and Russia, calls for suspending U.S.-South Korea military drills in exchange for Pyongyang halting its weapons testing.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono also welcomed inter-Korean dialogue but called for maximum pressure on North Korea.
The joint statement called for China and Russia to play a bigger role in resolving the nuclear issue, but Beijing criticized the meeting as lacking legitimacy. The statement also urged a response to North Korea’s maritime smuggling, criminal activities and cyber operations.
The Vancouver gathering brought together countries that fought alongside South Korea during the Korean War.
The ministers of Seoul, Washington and Tokyo also met separately and discussed ways for the dialogue momentum taking place on the Korean Peninsula to lead to progress in denuclearization.
The Vancouver meeting is seen as exerting pressuring on Pyongyang to engage in negotiations with a sincere will toward denuclearization.

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