China heaping scorn on North Korea meeting next week in Vancouver

Vancouver's North Korea meeting: Opaque agenda, odd group of participants

China said Wednesday it will not attend next week's meeting of foreign ministers in Canada to discuss how best to respond to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

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.

The Vancouver meeting is expected to put a heavy emphasis on finding ways to crack down on the many smuggling and money-laundering schemes that Pyongyang has employed to sidestep sanctions and pay for its nuclear program.

Russian Federation is also expected to be absent along with China, meaning two of North Korea's most important and influential neighbours will be missing when Freeland and Tillerson sit down with other foreign ministers.

The agenda will include talk of new measures and steps to enforce existing sanctions, perhaps through maritime interdiction to screen vessels headed to North Korea for illicit shipments barred by United Nations sanctions.

US President Donald Trump yesterday suggested he could have a good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but refused to say if the two had spoken.

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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.

State Department Director of Policy Planning Brian Hook briefed reporters on the meeting, which will be held on Tuesday in Vancouver, Canada.

Pyongyang also agreed to send its high-ranking delegation and athletes to the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, which are set to run from February to March in South Korea's eastern county of PyeongChang.

According to him, North Koreans officials believe the US public opinion is inching closer to supporting a pre-emptive strike because they fear Pyongyang would attack the U.S.as soon as it had the opportunity to do so-a serious misperception, one diplomat told Vorontsov.

North Korea observed a six-week break in missile launches between September 15 and November 29, but the prospect of war with the USA, which held a series of joint military drills with South Korea during that period, never stopped preoccupying the officials who spoke with Vorontsov.

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