Protesters carry a banner while marching outside the site of a summit on North Korea being hosted by Canada and the U.S., in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday January 15, 2018. Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting Tuesday to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Diplomacy on agenda at North Korea summit in Vancouver

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting Tuesday to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

A gathering of foreign ministers in Vancouver today to discuss the perils posed by North Korea is expected to focus on sanctions, non-proliferation and diplomacy.

Eric Walsh, Canada’s ambassador to Korea, says ministers will aim to identify which sanctions are being evaded and how to improve enforcement, while also discussing possible diplomatic solutions.

He says non-proliferation is also a key topic, and participants will look at recent developments in North Korea’s nuclear program and what they mean for the region and the international community.

Related: North Korea says war is inevitable

The federal government has faced criticism for not inviting Russia and China to the summit, which instead brings together ministers from countries that supported the United Nations force in the Korean War.

Walsh says the conference is not meant to replace other discussions that are taking place, including at the UN Security Council, and instead it is meant to complement those talks.

He says there’s “no question” that China and Russia have critical roles to play in North Korea and the summit, co-hosted by Canada and the U.S., was not intended to exclude them.

“We very much hope we’ll be able to dialogue with them at a later date about what we’re able to do here and find ways to stay engaged with them,” he said.

Related: North Korea to join Olympics in South Korea as tensions ease

Walsh made the comments at a panel discussion convened by the University of British Columbia on Monday, ahead of the conference that begins today.

Brian Gold, a University of Alberta history professor, said the summit is less about North Korea, to some degree, and more about Canada and South Korea as middle powers promoting a multilateral approach.

He said multilateralism was the intent of the United Nations alliance during the Korean War.

“I think it’s a great success in just that it’s happening,” he said of the conference.

“But true, yes, a greater success if it provides a rationale for an ongoing existence (of the alliance) and helps with some of these problems which have been identified.”

However, political science Prof. Brian Job of the University of British Columbia said the meeting puts Canada in a “delicate tension.”

“On the one hand, we’re onside with concerns over North Korea’s nuclear weapons, we back the sanction regime, we support Secretary of State (Rex) Tillerson’s … diplomatic approach in Washington,” Job said.

“But on the other hand … our interests in being seen as a middle power in this circumstance is not advanced by being seen as an instrument of U.S. agenda, advocating a one-note, hard line extreme pressure strategy, and I think particularly in convening meetings in which key players are not involved.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau conceded Monday that both China and Russia will be integral to securing peace on the Korean peninsula, even as he defended the decision to leave the two countries out of the gathering.

Trudeau made the remarks after Russia became the latest to slam the meeting as a threat to peace efforts.

China, meanwhile, has already derided as “Cold War thinking” the involvement of only those allies that supported South Korea during the Korean War.

— With files from Lee Berthiaume in Ottawa

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Jerri & the Cheap Dates take the stage at Nest & Nectar

Catch their live performance Mar. 23 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Princeton man charged in thefts from volunteer fire hall

A Princeton man appeared in circuit court here February 14, facing charges… Continue reading

Find your freaky side at Army of Sass’ SIDESHOW

The 360 degree circus-themed production comes to Penticton Lakeside Resort Mar. 23

Okanagan weather watch: Snow on the way

Flurries have been predicted for most of the Okanagan Valley today

VIDEO: A glimpse into OneWorld Penticton

Hear from performers and presenters at the annual multicultural festival

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

One of B.C.’s newest citizens reflects on the value of immigration

“People who come by choice to another country will do everything to contribute to that country.”

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Team BC sitting 4th at Canada Winter Games after 1st week

Team BC ringette featuring Kelowna’s Brooklyn Keller finished 4th

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Salmon Arm Silverbacks fall to Penticton Vees in third-period upset

Early lead disintegrates into 5-2 finish for Penticton

Most Read