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Canada FM urges US, N. Korea to step back

© POOL/AFP/File | "What North Korea is doing is absolutely unacceptable, and it's posing an unacceptable security threat both in the region and to the entire world," Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said

OTTAWA (AFP) - 

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Friday condemned North Korea's "unacceptable" actions while urging both the United States and the totalitarian regime to step back from a possible catastrophic conflict on the Korean peninsula.

Freeland, speaking days after a Canadian pastor was released from a North Korean prison, said North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile program is a grave threat that must be stopped.

"What North Korea is doing is absolutely unacceptable, and it's posing an unacceptable security threat both in the region and to the entire world," she said.

At the same time, Freeland renewed Canada's support for its neighbor, the United States, while urging both US President Donald Trump and the regime of Kim Jong-Un to tone down the saber-rattling.

"We stand by all of our allies very much including the United States. When they are threatened, we are there," she said.

She said Canada is "working with our international partners to seek a resolution, a de-escalation" in the situation.

In direct conversations with North Korea and through China, Freeland said Canada sought to "get North Korea to understand that it must get off this path, which is so destructive for North Korea and the world."

She said she briefly spoke with her North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, on the sidelines of an ASEAN ministers gathering in Manila on Sunday and with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's national security advisor Daniel Jean also travelled to Pyongyang to discuss the case of pastor Hyeon Soo Lim, who was released Wednesday.

Lim was arrested in 2015 for allegedly meddling in North Korean state affairs.

The South Korean-born pastor had been accused of subversive acts against Pyongyang, an allegation Canadian authorities strongly denied.

© 2017 AFP