Canada, Philippines express concern over North Korea

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  • South Korea’s vice defense minister held talks on September 6 in the capital city of Seoul with his Canadian and Filipino counterparts to discuss close coordination over North Korea’s threats.

    Suh Choo-suk met separately with Jody Thomas, the Canadian senior associate defense minister, and Cardozo Luna, undersecretary of the Philippines’ Department of National Defense, on the sidelines of a security forum hosted by Seoul’s defense ministry.

    The ministry said that they expressed deep concerns about North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats and discussed how to respond to them amid heightened tensions following the North’s sixth nuclear test.

    Meanwhile, South Korea and Canada agreed to maintain efforts to boost defense cooperation as strategic partners, the ministry said.

    It also said that Seoul and Manila will continue working together in the defense field, with Seoul seeking to join the Philippine military’s modernization project.

    The Seoul Defense Dialogue (SDD) kicked off September 6 for a three-day run, bringing together more than 500 participants from 38 countries.

    In the U.S., President Donald Trump said that military action is not his “first choice” to address North Korea’s ongoing moves to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, hours after he spoke by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    “We’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens,” Trump said when asked if he was still considering military action. “Certainly that’s not a first choice, but we’ll see what happens.”

    Trump said that he believed he and Xi are on the same page following what he described as a “very, very frank and very strong phone call.”

    “We will not be putting up with what’s happening in North Korea. I believe that President Xi agrees with me 100%,” Trump said from the White House’s South Lawn as he prepared to board Marine One.

    China’s state media outlet, CCTV, said Wednesday that Xi expressed China’s commitment to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and called for a peaceful settlement during their phone call earlier in the day.

    The phone call comes on the heels of Trump and his administration’s stern warnings to North Korea that further threats would be met with military force, including with a possible nuclear strike. Those warnings came after North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test.

    The U.S. has proposed a range of new sanctions against North Korea, including an oil ban and a freeze on leader Kim Jong-un’s assets.

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