Canada, al­lies to dis­cuss whether to start in­ter­cept­ing North Korean ves­sels

The Western Star - - CANADA -

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.

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