The Latest: Russia Weighs In On North Korea War Rhetoric

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting in Vancouver today to discuss ways to promote a peaceful resolution to the North Korea crisis.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, are co-hosting the one-day gathering.

Freeland, Tillerson and the Korean and Japanese foreign ministers will kick off the summit with opening remarks at 11:30 a.m. ET. CBC News will carry them live.

The co-hosts will answer reporters' questions at the end of the summit at 8 p.m. ET.

A government source speaking on background, said ministers will focus on alternate paths forward, amid the rapidly changing situation and to find ways to tone down the escalating — "my nuclear button is bigger than your nuclear button" — rhetoric.

"Canada is really prepared to do everything we can to work toward a peaceful diplomatic solution," Freeland said ahead of the meeting.

U.S. State Department officials also said they want to discuss whether to intercept ships headed in and out of North Korea.

During the meeting, delegates will be reviewing the sanctions currently in place and talk about ways to ensure they are being properly enforced. They'll also take a closer look at what pre-conditions need to be in place, before diplomatic talks can resume.

Russia, China left out

China and Russia will be noticeably missing from the table. And they've made their thoughts on that known.

"We openly said that we think this meeting is harmful," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a two-hour news conference Monday.

China had derided the involvement of only those allies that supported South Korea during the Korean War as "Cold War thinking."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said both China and Russia will be integral to securing peace on the Korean peninsula, but defended the decision to leave the two countries out of the international gathering.

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

"There are always going to be different venues and different groupings happening, and I think a diversity of approaches is better than picking one lane and deciding that this is going to be the way it happens," Trudeau said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

He also acknowledged that any successful resolution will ultimately need to include China and Russia, both of which he called "important partners" in resolving one of the world's greatest threats to peace.

Ahead of the summit Freeland and Tillerson took part in a ministerial dinner Monday night, with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis.

Source : http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/north-korea-summit-vancouver-freeland-tillerson-1.4489166

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