Canada, allies to discuss whether to start intercepting North Korean vessels
OTTAWA — Canada and other countries that supported South Korea during the Korean War will sit down in Vancouver next week to mull ways to tighten the screws on North Korea — including whether to start intercepting North Korean vessels.
U.S. State Department officials have confirmed that China and Russia were not invited to next Tuesday’s meeting, which Canada is co-hosting with the U.S. in response to North Korea’s recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests. Instead, only those countries that deployed troops as part of the United Nations during the Korean War between 1950 and 1953 have been invited to participate in the discussions, which China has blasted as ``Cold War thinking.’’
The meeting is expected to put a heavy emphasis on finding ways to crack down on the many smuggling and moneylaundering schemes that Pyongyang has employed to help it sidestep sanctions and pay for its nuclear program. Brian Hook, director of policy for U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, said a naval interdiction will be one option discussed by participants to stop smuggling by sea alongside tougher financial monitoring and sanctions.
Hook defended the decision not to invite China and Russia, which another official said was made with Canada, even though some have questioned what progress can be made without two of North Korea’s most important neighbours.