VANCOUVER, JANUARY 16 – Italy is participating in the Vancouver Conference on the Korean Peninsula “to favour the efforts of the international community to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis,” the Italian Minister for foreign affairs Angelino Alfano said on Tuesday. The United States and Canada are co-hosting the international summit on the North Korean nuclear threat today, as tensions on the Korean Peninsula settle into a steady simmer while direct talks between the North and the South continue.
“Our message is clear,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said. “The pursuit of nuclearization will bring you neither security nor prosperity. Investing in nuclear weapons will lead only to more sanctions and to perpetual instability on the peninsula.” Italy is represented at the meeting by Ambassador Gian Lorenzo Cornado, Minister Alfano’s Chief of Staff and former Italian ambassador to Ottawa.
Minister Alfano continued: “We started working in this direction last year, during our Chairmanship of the UN Sanctions Committee. In this perspective, we intend to contribute to the debate in Vancouver, so as to promote, together with our partners, a future of peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.”
The purpose of the summit, attended by 20 countries, was to increase the “maximum-pressure campaign” on North Korea by clamping down on its efforts to evade sanctions through smuggling and other illicit activity, said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tillerson was expected to push participating countries, all of whom were invited because of their support for South Korea during the Korean War, to help stop North Korean smuggling by sea.
The summit comes at a critical time. Ddiplomats’ attentions are absorbed by the delicate talks between the two neighboring countries — which were initially focused on North Korea’s participation in the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics but have since broadened. (@OnuItalia)