In the News – Canada remembers Korean War


In the News – Canada remembers Korean War

Canadian sailors visit the graves of Canadian soldiers killed in the Korean War (1950-53) at the United Nations Memorial Cemetary in Busan, Friday.

/ Korea Times photo by Lee Sung-deok

By Kang Hyun-kyung

Back in December 1950, the first Canadian troops came to South Korea, then fighting its Stalinist northern neighbor after the North launched an attack at dawn on Sunday, June 25.

Nearly 26,000 young Canadians, mostly aged 18 or 19 years, fought for the freedom of this nation under the U.N. flag. More than 300 died and some 1,100 were wounded.

On Thursday, Canada’s Ambassador to South Korea David Chatterson said his nation’s decision to send the large contingent of troops to South Korea 62 years ago was “a very difficult political decision.”

“We had just come out of World War II and 10 percent of men in Canada fought in that war. So we had just completed a very long, difficult war in which Canadians fought and died for the freedom of other countries,” Chatterson said in an interview with The Korea Times.

“Five years later, we were asked to do it again…. It was difficult.”

The Canadian envoy said there had been a pros and cons debate regarding the plan to dispatch the troops when Canada was asked to join the Korean War.

“There was a lot of opposition to going back into a war. But we were very supportive of the U.N. and this was the Cold War period.

There were issues much bigger frankly than Korea at play,” Chatterson said.

“I think that’s what tipped the scales toward our involvement in the Korean War.”

Canada has been active in international peace-keeping operations and the military campaign to fight for the freedom of foreign nations. The North American country sent troops to Iraq during the first Gulf War, the Libyan Civil War in 2011 and Afghanistan.

Ambassador Chatterson said Canada’s contribution to international peace and security might have been impossible without support from its citizens and their awareness of the role Canada has to play to help make the world peaceful.

“Canada is a country populated by immigrants. So we always had connections to Europe, to Asia, and to countries around the world. That makes us look outward, not inward,” he noted.

“We can look beyond our day-to-day survival and think about the bigger global issues. We understand that the peace and security of the whole world affects us. We are not selfish people.”

Ambassador Chatterson made the remarks as South Korea marks the 62nd anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War Monday.
According to the Ministry of National Defense, some 63 nations from all around the world had either sent troops or provided necessary assistance to South Korea during the forgotten war.

The 63 nations included the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, France, Belgium, Colombia, Ethiopia, and the Philippines.

These countries joined the Korean War after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution to begin a police action to help the South in the wake of North Koreans’ launch of the attack.

Chatterson said Canadian veterans, who are now mostly in their 80s, felt that their sacrifices paid off after witnessing the dramatic changes South Korea has made in terms of socio-economic development over the past six decades.

“In my discussions with them, they were very pleased that their sacrifices have enabled this,” he said.

“Our Korean War veterans visit here every year with the support of the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs. For many of them, it was their first time. They had come to South Korea when they were at 18 or 19 years old sixty years ago. So they were quite struck by the change as Korea was absolutely ruined during the war. So it was very emotional for them.”

Canada Day

Six decades after the outbreak of the Korean War, the Canadian ambassador, who arrived in Seoul last September to assume duties to South and North Korea, said he felt the need to raise the profile of Canada as well as bilateral relations in South Korea.

The two sides will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations next year.

The two governments have made various efforts to bolster ties. One of them was the restart of negotiations to clinch the Korea-Canada free trade agreement, suspended after the two sides began talks in 2005. Last week, President Lee Myung-bak and Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper announced this after the summit held on the sidelines of G20 Summit held in Mexico.

“Our negotiations are well-evolved and Canada and Korea have complementary economies,” said Chatterson, revealing optimism about the road ahead of the trade pact.

Near the end of the interview, the ambassador launched the pitch for Canada Day slated for July 1.

“We don’t celebrate this with army parades. Rather we celebrate this with communities in Canada and around the world. We will have concerts, picnics, barbeque and fireworks,” he said.

Original article can be found here.

In the News – N. Korea high on agenda at G-8 meeting


In the News – N. Korea high on agenda at G-8 meeting

By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, April 11 (Yonhap) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she and her G-8 counterparts will discuss ways to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea set to launch a long-range ballistic rocket.

“I think we all share a strong interest in stability on the Korean Peninsula and we will be discussing how best to achieve that,” the secretary said at the start of a meeting with foreign ministers of the Group of Eight major economies.

The two-day session, under way at the Blair House, a state guest house near the White House, comes ahead of the G-8 Summit to be held at Camp David May 18-19. The group also involves Russia, Germany, France, Britain, Japan, Canada and Italy,
Clinton accused Pyongyang of pushing for such a provocative move at the cost of a Feb. 29 deal under which it pledged to suspend missile and nuclear activities. In return, the U.S. had planned to provide massive food aid. Continue reading

North Korean Defectors in the United States

Image representing face of refugees from Eritrea

Officially back on campus, I decided to get involved with Yale’s branch of THiNK, There’s Hope in North Korea, once again. Thinking back to my previous year as a volunteer for the organization, I remembered that we had been fortunate enough to hear the story of a North Korean defector now living in America. She had described how she had tried to defect from North Korea on more than one occasion. After the first attempt, she, her brother, and mother had been captured and sent to a detention center where they had been tortured. After she had one day escaped, she started a new life in the United States. Unfortunately, I do not remember enough of her story to form a narrative of her personal journey to America, whether or not she spent a lot of time in a third country or in South Korea before coming here. I only remember that she occasionally shares her experiences with others in the same way that she had for us undergraduate students. Continue reading

Researching Refugees

North Korean Asylum Seekers (Photo Credit: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

This summer, when I wasn’t driving around in a minivan or eating dinner or talking about Gossip Girl with North Korean refugees, I dabbled in some online research on foreign policy.

This was on assignment from the Ministry of Unification’s Resettlement Support Division, the department that looks after North Korean refugees during their integration process. I looked into Chinese, South Korean, US, Australian, UK, and Canadian policies with respect to North Korean refugees—those are at least the countries with plentiful information available in English about their policies, and generally are also the ones with the greatest influx of North Korean refugees. Continue reading