November 19, 2017 11:32 am

China has ‘special responsibility’ when it comes to North Korea: NATO chief

WATCH ABOVE: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tells Vassy Kapelos he’s pleased NATO countries are spending more given increasing tensions and member nations need to work together and apply maximum pressure on North Korea.

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NATO’s secretary general says China has a “special responsibility” when it comes to bridging the divide between North Korea and the rest of the international community.

In an interview with The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos, Jens Stoltenberg said he has seen positive signs that the Chinese government is putting its foot down with the so-called hermit kingdom in the wake of repeated ballistic missile tests over the summer and fall.

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China supported stronger economic sanctions against North Korea in September, Stoltenberg noted.

“China is also a neighbour of North Korea and China has also now sent an envoy to North Korea to try to convey a message from the international community,” he added.

“The whole international community has a responsibility, but I think especially China, being a neighbour and a permanent member of the (United Nations) security council, gives China a special responsibility.”

Stoltenberg, a former prime minister of Norway, was in Halifax this weekend for the annual Halifax International Security Forum. He also addressed the ratcheting up of tensions with North Korea as a result of angry or mocking tweets from U.S. President Donald Trump.

“President Trump has a strong language and that’s the way he expresses his opinions,” the secretary general said, being careful not to directly criticize the American president.

“NATO is united in our approach to North Korea … meaning that we are seeking a peaceful negotiated solution.”

WATCH: NATO defence ministers discuss support to Afghanistan, addressing ISIS

Stoltenberg also addressed the recent NATO commitment to send an additional 3,000 soldiers to Afghanistan, bringing the total number of boots on the ground to 16,000. He said he would welcome any help from Canada’s military, whether it be manpower or other resources.

NATO is “satisfied” with Canada’s recent efforts to step up defence spending, Stoltenberg added, and wants to see more of the same in the coming years.

“We are welcoming contributions from all NATO allies, and of course we’re also welcoming all contributions from Canada,” he said of the situation in Afghanistan. “NATO’s desire as an alliance is that we will continue to be there.”

Pulling out of the country, where Canadian troops served for more than 12 years, would leave the door open for it to revert to a safe haven for terror groups, he warned.

“If we lose Afghanistan now, it will be chaos.”

– Watch the full interview with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg above.

 

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