Not much wiggle room for Canada to introduce new sanctions against North Korea
Vancouver summit countries promise to consider new unilateral measures against Kim Jong-un's regime
Canada may almost be out of options when it comes to developing new sanctions against North Korea.
Delegates from 20 countries left yesterday's Vancouver summit pledging to consider new measures against Kim Jong-un's regime.
But Canada may not have much wiggle room, because it already has significant independent measures in place.
A government official speaking on background tells CBC News that Ottawa will always evaluate its options, but what is in place now is already very strong.
Canada has a wide-ranging ban on trade, financial interactions and weapons with North Korea. The plan includes a few exceptions for humanitarian support.
When new sanctions were adopted last year by the United Nations Security Council, some of those measures were in line with regulations Canada already had in place.
According to readout of Tuesday's summit, participants agreed to "consider and take steps to impose unilateral sanctions and further diplomatic actions that go beyond those required by UN Security Council resolutions."
The official would not shed light on what those efforts could look like.
More international partners needed
The pledge is part of a larger international pressure campaign to get North Korea to enter into denuclearization talks.
The group also committed to finding ways to ensure sanctions are better enforced.
To that end, Canada announced it would be spending more than $3 million to support an American program that trains local officials in the region on sanction enforcement.
But if progress is to be made, a University of British Columbia professor says, more international partners needed to be at the table.
"It would help if China and Russia were involved in this meeting, because we can't enforce the sanctions without China particularly and Russia also," said Don Baker.
China and Russia were not invited to the meeting itself, but were promised separate briefings after the summit.
Both countries rejected that offer, and have since criticized these efforts.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her co-chair, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, used the Vancouver gathering to offer a blunt assessment of the threat at hand.
"I think we all need to be very sober and clear-eyed about the situation," Tillerson said during a closing news conference.
"North Korea has continued to make significant advances in both its nuclear weapons, the lethality of those weapons … as well as the continued progress they've made in their intercontinental ballistic missile systems," he added.
Tillerson declines comment on limited strike
Tillerson was asked if the U.S. would consider the so-called bloody nose approach to dealing with North Korea, which would see a limited military strike to deter the Kim regime from developing its weapons.
He offered no insight, saying only that he would not comment.
Freeland echoed Tillerson's concerns about the emerging threat, saying "we cannot stand by as this threat persists and worsens."