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 – King to visit Brussels for discussions on NK human rights


In the News – King to visit Brussels for discussions on NK human rights

By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, May 25 (Yonhap) — A U.S. envoy will travel to Brussels next week to discuss North Korean human rights with the European Union, the State Department announced Friday.

Amb. Robert King, the special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, will participate in the European Parliament subcommittee on the human rights situation in North Korea on Tuesday, the department said in a press release.

King also plans to meet with officials from the European Parliament, the European External Action Service, nongovernmental organizations and countries that share their deep concerns about the human rights situation in the communist nation, it added.

King is scheduled to return to Washington on Thursday after the three-day trip.

Earlier this week, the department issued a far-reaching report on the human rights record in 199 nations, including North Korea, which it graded as “extremely poor.”


Original article can be found here.

In the News – U.S. House passes bill on N. Korean human rights


In the News – U.S. House passes bill on N. Korean human rights

By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, May 15 (Yonhap) — The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday calling for bipartisan efforts to address North Korea’s human rights violations, according to a congressional source.

Members of the House approved by voice vote the legislation on extending until 2017 the authority of the North Korean Human Rights Act, added the source.

The act provides the legal ground for the U.S. government’s financial support for radio stations broadcasting to North Korea and the appointment of a special envoy on the North’s human rights issues.

The reauthorization bill notes that, “Although the transition to the leadership of Kim Jong-un after the death of Kim Jong-il has introduced new uncertainties and possibilities, the fundamental human rights and humanitarian conditions inside North Korea remains deplorable and North Korean refugees remain acutely vulnerable.”

It also urges China to immediately halt its forcible repatriation of North Koreans.

The Senate is also expected to approve the bill without a major dispute, the source said.


Original article can be found here.

In the News – U.S., allies urge sanctions for North Korea firms; China resists


In the News – U.S., allies urge sanctions for North Korea firms; China resists

(Reuters) – The United States, European Union, South Korea and Japan have submitted a list of about 40 North Korean companies to the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions committee for possible blacklisting due to Pyongyang’s recent rocket launch, envoys said on Tuesday.

The committee, which includes all 15 Security Council members, received an initial response from China that it would only consent to adding two entities to the U.N. list of banned North Korean firms, which the United States and its allies see as too few, envoys told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

“The U.S., Europeans, Japan and ROK (South Korea) have together produced a list of around 40 entities to be designated by the 1718 Committee,” a senior diplomat told Reuters. “The challenge remains as usual squarely on PRC (China).”

The United States was continuing to press China to allow more North Korean firms to be sanctioned, envoys said. Continue reading

In the News – Former US Diplomat Says If Ignored, North Korea Could be ‘Dangerous’


In the News – Former US Diplomat Says If Ignored, North Korea Could be ‘Dangerous’

U.S. envoy to North Korea Stephen Bosworth

The former U.S. envoy to North Korea said the Obama administration must continue to engage with Pyongyang, even if goes through with a rocket launch scheduled for this month.

Stephen Bosworth told VOA’s Korean Service this week that the United States has always made clear to the North Koreans that it is opposed to the regime launching a long-range missile, regardless of its reasons. Continue reading

In the News – King urges N. Korea to stop punishing repatriated defectors


In the News – King urges N. Korea to stop punishing repatriated defectors

WASHINGTON, March 13 (Yonhap) — The U.S. special envoy on North Korean human rights issues demanded in this week’s U.N. meeting that Pyongyang stop punishing forcefully repatriated defectors.

Robert King, attending a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday (local time), shared “deep concerns” about the plight of refugees and asylum seekers from the North, according to a transcript of his remarks released by the State Department
“We urge the DPRK to end the punishment and imprisonment of North Koreans who have sought asylum abroad, as well as their family members,” he said. The DPRK stands for the North’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

A growing number of North Koreans cross the border into China, fleeing their authoritarian and perennially hungry homeland. Beijing, a key communist ally of Pyongyang, has a firm policy of sending them back.

King also called for Pyongyang to allow a visit by Marzuki Darusman, the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in North Korea. The secretive nation is accused of oppressing many of its 24 million people.

“We hope the DPRK will work with Mr. Darusman, and recognize the benefits of cooperating with the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and thematic special rapporteurs,” King said. “The DPRK could use this opportunity to obtain valuable assistance from international human rights mechanisms. We urge the DPRK to allow the special rapporteur to visit the country and fulfill his mandate to observe and assess the human rights situation.”

He stressed the importance of resuming inter-Korean dialogue and the reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

“We appreciate the modest progress between DPRK officials and the American Red Cross on family reunions between Korean-Americans and family members in the DPRK, but we seek greater progress in this area,” King said.

Original article can be found here.

In the News – S. Korea urges N. Korea to come forward for dialogue


In the News – S. Korea urges N. Korea to come forward for dialogue

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s point man on North Korea urged Pyongyang Friday to come forward for talks in an apparent move to ease tensions as the two sides exchanged militaristic rhetoric.

Last month, South Korea proposed holding two separate meetings with North Korea to discuss reunions of separated family members and joint pest control near ancient tombs in the isolated country. The North has yet to reply to the offers.

“I urge North Korea again to come forward for dialogue as soon as its internal situation stabilizes,” Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik said in a forum attended by hundreds of former lawmakers. Continue reading

In the News – U.S., North Korea Extend Discussions


In the News – U.S., North Korea Extend Discussions

By BRIAN SPEGELE in Beijing and ALASTAIR GALE in Seoul

A senior U.S. envoy said Thursday that negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea had been extended to a second day, a potentially positive sign that talks were progressing between Washington and Pyongyang’s new regime.

Glyn T. Davies, Washington’s special representative for North Korean policy, offered few details of the first day of negotiations in Beijing. He said U.S. and North Korean officials would dine together on Thursday evening. Continue reading