Victoria hosts top military brass in Asia-Pacific


WATCH: Top military brass in Asia Pacific meet for conference in Victoria.  Mary Griffin reports.

Sitting on the tarmac at Victoria’s airport on Wednesday was the plane that flew in the United States Navy’s top brass.

The United States is one of the 26 nations that took part in the Pacific Command Chiefs of Defense, a meeting of senior defence officials.

The highest ranking officers in the Asia-Pacific region were in Victoria from Monday to Wednesday for the meeting.

“It’s an opportunity for the chiefs of defence in the Asia-Pacific region to get together and discuss issues of mutual interest.,? Lt. Anthony Wright is the public affairs officers with Maritime Forces Pacific said.

Scheduled more than a year ago, the timing of the meeting is critical as tensions in the Korean peninsula escalate. North Korea is expected to carry out yet another ballistic test as soon as this weekend.

“It’s really to do with what’s happening in Asia right now,? Kenneth Christie, the program head of human security and peace building at Royal Roads University

?And as you know, North Korea has raised the incredible tensions on the Korean peninsula,” Christie said. “There is a threat of nuclear war. Things have been escalating. North Korea has been testing more, and more missiles. Six missiles that they’ve tested so far.”

Even Russian President Vladimir Putin warns the North Korean crisis has the makings of what might well become a global catastrophe.

“We have something to genuinely worry about, a nuclear problem in the Korean peninsula, that could affect us on the west coast, or the United States and Canada,” Christie said. “Then there is a serious problem.”

The annual gathering of the chiefs of defence was scheduled to take place on Vancouver Island in 2016, long before tensions began escalating on the Korean Peninsula.

“This event has been planned for over a year. Certainly, North Korea would be a topic of discussion between the chiefs of defence,” Lt. Wright said. “But it’s certainly not the reason this meeting is being held.”

The meetings wrapped up Wednesday.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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