China and Russia are denouncing an international summit on North Korea in Vancouver next week, saying the event co-hosted by Canada and the United States is “a relapse of the Cold War mentality.”
Washington and Ottawa have called the meeting to demonstrate international commitment to diplomatic solutions to the escalating threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, Brian Hook, Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department, told reporters Thursday.
“The ministerial – the goal of the ministerial is to provide a practical mechanism – mechanisms to exert continued pressure on the Kim regime while demonstrating that diplomatic options remain open and viable,” Hood said.
The so-called Vancouver Group meeting on Jan. 16 will include the original states that sent troops to fight in the 1950-53 Korean War under the United Nations Command, as well as representatives from the Republic of Korea, Japan, India and Sweden.
But while countries like Ethiopia, Greece and Colombia are expected to be at the summit – they had each dispatched over 1,000 soldiers to fight under the UN banner in 1950 – neither China nor Russia, two of North Korea’s immediate and influential neighbours, will be in Vancouver when summit co-hosts Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson sit down with other foreign ministers.
“We know about the plans to hold a meeting of Korean War allies in Vancouver. We regard this as a relapse of the Cold War mentality that is unacceptable in light of the nascent dialogue between North Korea and South Korea,” Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova tweeted.
“We consider it impossible to support an event that may lead to the escalation of an already tense situation on the Korean Peninsula.”