Minister Cannon Issues Statement on the Situation in the Korean Peninsula

(No. 175 - May 26, 2010 - 2:50 p.m ET) The following is an edited transcript of a statement made to media by the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the situation in the Korean Peninsula. The statement was made during a teleconference held on Tuesday, May 25, 2010:

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper instigated a swift and strong response to the sinking of the naval frigate Cheonan of South Korea. We are sending a clear message to North Korea’s regime: There will be consequences. Canada strongly condemns this violent act of aggression by the North Korean regime, which has once again demonstrated reckless and unacceptable behaviour.

“I spoke with South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan last Sunday evening and expressed our condolences for the lives lost on the Cheonan. Minister Yu thanked Canada for its assistance in this investigation, which concluded that North Korea was responsible for this act. I also reiterated to Minister Yu that Canada is fully supportive of South Korea, our democratic ally and friend.

“We are closely consulting with South Korea and our allies, and we will continue to support South Korea in the best way forward to take North Korea to task. We will call on China to take leadership and bring stability to the region. I want to reiterate our unwavering commitment to stand with the people of South Korea and to support President Lee Myung-bak in his decision to act decisively following the act of aggression by North Korea on March 26, 2010.

“Canada is now committed to a coordinated international response—including through the United Nations Security Council—as a result of this act. The Government of Canada will take steps to impose enhanced restrictions on trade, investments and other bilateral relations with North Korea, including the addition of North Korea to the area control list. We will also move to suspend high-level visits between Canadian and North Korean officials.

“Canada remains committed to peace and stability in the region. We are in close contact with Canada’s G8 partners on the situation, and we will use our G8 presidency to take North Korea to task. The Government of Canada takes a principled stand in support of our democratic allies and will thus be swift and resolute in its response to this tragic event.” 

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Catherine Loubier
Press Secretary
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Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada