By Ellson Quismorio
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used the 40th ASEAN-Canada Commemorative Summit Tuesday to echo a call for rogue state 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 nontraditional 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 the press conference.
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