Just a day after Donald Trump and Xi Jinping phone conversation over North Korea, China has strongly objected to a US led meeting in Canada’s Vancouver that called for strict implementation of sanctions imposed on North Korea.
Calling the meeting illegal and a Cold War vestige, a spokesperson of China’s Foreign Office said, “It will only drive a wedge among the international community and undermine the concerted efforts to seek proper settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.”
The US and Canada hosted Vancouver Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability on the Korean Peninsula on 16th January. The meeting was aimed at “the Complete, Verifiable, and Irreversible Denuclearization of North Korea”, as the US State Department summed it.
Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, said the purpose of the meetings was to improve the effectiveness of the maximum pressure campaign and combat North Korea’s attempts to evade sanctions.
China raised objections over meeting and its participants, the 20 countries of the United Nations Command (UNC) that supported South Korea during the 1950s Korea War, “We all know that the so-called UN Command, as a product of the Cold War era, has long lost its relevance. As initiators of the meeting, the US and Canada co-hosted the meeting under the banner of the so-called UN Command sending states. That is Cold War mentality pure and simple.”
The meeting that excluded China and Russia was attended by 20 nations including the US, Canada, South Korea, Japan, France, Britain, the Philippines, Sweden and Australia and none of them had any trade relation with North Korea last year.
China argued that when no major parties of the Korean peninsula issue were present in the meeting, expecting any solution through it was a futile exercise, questioning the ‘legality and representativeness’ of the meeting.
China also countered the tough message of the military option that the US led meeting sent to North Korea. China’s Foreign Office said on the move, “Only through dialogue, equally addressing the reasonable concerns of all parties, can a way to an effective and peaceful resolution be found.”
Tillerson had warned that the ultimate responsibility for producing a new future lies with North Korea and it can only be achieved by abandoning its current path of pursuing missile and nuclear weapons technologies.
But if the North doesn’t do so and diplomacy fails, it may trigger military confrontation, “We have to recognize that the threat is growing and that if North Korea does not choose the pathway of engagement, discussion, negotiation then they themselves will trigger an option,” Tillerson had added.
The daylong meeting concluded with a joint announcement that a nuclear-armed North Korea was not acceptable and if the country desired a future, it must follow the path of complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization.
In spite of the international sanctions against its missile and nuclear weapons programme, North Korea successfully test fired many missiles last year including nuclear capable inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and detonated a hydrogen bomb as well.
The country has now declared itself a nuclear power, threatening the world with its recent military advances and its acts like firing missiles over Japan or threatening the US military base at Guam in the Pacific, coupled with its no holds barred war rhetoric, have escalated the tension like never before.