Trudeau sends pow­er­ful warn­ing to North Korea

Manila Bulletin - - News - By ELLSON A. QUISMORIO

Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau used the 40th ASEAN-Canada Com­mem­o­ra­tive Sum­mit Tues­day to echo a call for North Korea to dis­man­tle its wor­ri­some nu­clear weapons pro­gram.

“As ten­sions in North Korea con­tinue to es­ca­late, Canada stands united with the Asian con­ti­nent and the world in our de­mand that North Korea aban­dons its nu­clear weapons and bal­lis­tic weapon mis­sile pro­grams,” Trudeau said in his open­ing remarks at the meet­ing held at the Philippine In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­ter (PICC) in Pasay City.

The ASEAN-Canada Com­mem­o­ra­tive Sum­mit is part of the on­go­ing 31st ASEAN Sum­mit and re­lated sum­mits be­ing hosted by the Philip­pines.

Philippine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte chaired the par­tic­u­lar meet­ing, which marked the first time that a Cana­dian prime min­is­ter was given the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate.

Sure enough, Trudeau used the event as plat­form to send a pow­er­ful mes­sage to North Korea.

“North Korea must im­me­di­ately cease all ac­tiv­i­ties to go against its in­ter­na­tional obli­ga­tions and the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions,” he said.

“As a mem­ber of a wide-range of mul­ti­lat­eral or­ga­ni­za­tions, we (Canada) are uniquely po­si­tioned to am­plify that mes­sage be­fore in­ter­na­tional au­di­ences and our part­ners,” added Trudeau.

Headed by Kim Jong-Un, reclu­sive North Korea has con­ducted at least five nu­clear tests dat­ing back to 2006 and is be­com­ing more and more brash about its nu­clear am­bi­tions.

This has ruf­fled the feathers of Western lead­ers, par­tic­u­larly United States (US) Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who has been pre­oc­cu­pied in his on­go­ing Asian trip with the North Korea is­sue and the pos­si­bil­ity of nu­clear war.

Canada sits di­rectly north of the US in the North Amer­i­can con­ti­nent.

Mean­while, Duterte gave a warm wel­come to the lo­cally pop­u­lar Trudeau at the ASEAN-Canada Com­mem­o­ra­tive Sum­mit.

“We are pleased that Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau joins us in mark­ing a special mile­stone in ASEAN-Canada di­a­logue re­la­tions dur­ing the 50th an­niver­sary of ASEAN and Canada’s 150th an­niver­sary of con­fed­er­a­tion,” the Filipino leader said in his own open­ing remarks.

“In the last 40 years, the ASEAN and Canada have ex­plored com­mon ground to .... ad­dress tra­di­tional and non-tra­di­tional se­cu­rity is­sues such as ter­ror­ism and hu­man traf­fick­ing to ac­cel­er­ate our eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and to pro­mote the rights of women and chil­dren and mi­grant work­ers while broad­en­ing our peo­ple-to-peo­ple ties.

“We only need to look at the ASEAN Com­mu­nity Vi­sion 2025 and its blue­prints to see the align­ment of ASEAN’s core in­ter­ests with those of Canada’s,” Duterte fur­ther said.

The Cana­dian gov­ern­ment had ear­lier ex­pressed its de­sire to join the East Asia Sum­mit as well as the ASEAN De­fense Min­is­ter Meet­ing Plus.

“There is more than just eco­nom­ics to dis­cuss. The East Asia Sum­mit has be­come the cen­tral place for dis­cussing around Pa­cific is­sues. Canada is a Pa­cific coun­try as you well know and be­ing able to en­gage on broader is­sues of se­cu­rity, de­vel­op­ment, hu­man rights, eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity, broader than just the APEC group, is very much in line with how Canada wants to and should en­gage con­struc­tively with the re­gion and the world,” Trudeau later ex­plained in a press con­fer­ence.

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