(No. 336 - November 10, 2009 - 10:25 a.m. EST) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today paid tribute to all Canadians who served in the Korean War. The Minister’s remarks came as he prepared to mark Remembrance Day, during his trip to the Republic of Korea.
"On the occasion of Remembrance Day, we must always remember that Canadians gave their lives not only in Europe, but also on battlefields around the world in defence of freedom and liberty," said Minister Cannon.
While in South Korea, the Minister also met with Lt.-Cmdr. Hugh Son, a recent graduate of the Republic of Korea Navy Command and Staff College and the Canadian military officer posted to the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) staff structure. The Commission has been operating from the beginning of the Korean War armistice in 1953 to the present, monitoring the ceasefire. This trip was a unique opportunity for Minister Cannon to visit the strategically and historically significant Joint Security Area at Panmunjom, in the Demilitarized Zone straddling the border between North and South Korea.
"The Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea is the last visible scar of the Cold War," said Minister Cannon. "Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, this place reminds us of the sufferings blind ideological division can bring to countries and peoples."
The Minister walked on the "Bridge of No Return." It was here that prisoners of war were released following the armistice. Prisoners were given a choice to go either to North or South Korea, but once they crossed the bridge, they could not return.
"This place has become a monument to the folly of totalitarianism," said Minister Cannon. "The North Korean government continues to forcibly stop its population from finding a better life elsewhere."
In 2010, Canadian veterans will participate actively in the commemoration program for the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War.
"Canadians will honour the more than 26,000 Canadians who served during the Korean War and the more than 7,000 Canadians who worked to restore peace and stability after the armistice," said the Minister. "They will also honour the 516 Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice."
During his visit, Minister Cannon met with President Lee Myung-bak, with his South Korean counterpart, Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan, with Unification Minister Hyun In-taek, as well as with senior parliamentarians. He discussed a broad array of topics in the Canada-Korea relationship.
On November 11 and 12, the Minister will be in Singapore to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting.
For more information on Canada-Korea defence relations, consult Defence Relations.
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