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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Canada and US to host North Korea crisis talks in January

Mr Tillerson said the meeting would seek to further increase pressure on North Korea to come to the table to negotiate an end to its nuclear programme

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson speaks as Chrystia Freeland, Canada's minister of foreign affairs, listens during a joint press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on December 19, 2017. Patrick Doyle / Bloomberg
US secretary of state Rex Tillerson speaks as Chrystia Freeland, Canada's minister of foreign affairs, listens during a joint press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on December 19, 2017. Patrick Doyle / Bloomberg

Canada and the US announced on Tuesday they will host a summit of foreign ministers in Vancouver on January 16, including envoys from Japan and South Korea, to seek progress on the North Korean nuclear crisis.

"We believe a diplomatic solution to the crisis is essential and possible," Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland told a joint press conference with visiting US secretary of state Rex Tillerson.

Mr Tillerson said the meeting would seek to further increase pressure on North Korea to come to the table to negotiate an end to its nuclear programme.

This could include "other steps that could be taken to put additional pressure on the regime in North Korea", as well as preparing for the prospects of talks, he said.

"We [will] continue to find ways to advance the pressure campaign against North Korea," Mr Tillerson said, "to send North Korea a unified message from the international community that we will not accept you as … a nuclear weapons nation, and that all of us share one policy and one goal — the full complete verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

"It's all intended to lead to talks. Otherwise we wouldn't need to do this. We would just go straight to the military option," he said.

"The White House supports diplomatic talks," Mr Tillerson added.

Read more: North Korea remains defiant against world pressure on nuclear weapons

Ms Freeland said Canada and the US "are aligned with the rest of the world in our position that these provocative and illegal acts cannot be tolerated. We fully support regional and international efforts to address the North Korean threat and the work of the UN Security Council".

The so-called Vancouver Group will also include Australia, Belgium, Britain, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey.

On Tuesday, White House national security adviser HR McMaster said that the US does not want to risk coexisting with a nuclear North Korea.

"We can't tolerate that risk," he told CBS in an interview. "If North Korea has a nuclear weapon, who are you going to try to prevent getting one? Look at the regime, the hostility of this regime to the whole world."

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