Minister Baird Expresses Disappointment over North Korea’s Chairmanship of UN Conference on Disarmament

(No. 186 - June 30, 2011 - 11 a.m. ET) John Baird, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, today issued the following statement regarding North Korea’s appointment to the chair of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament:

"North Korea is simply not a credible chair of a disarmament body.

"The fact that it gets a turn chairing a United Nations committee focused on disarmament is unacceptable, given the North Korean regime’s efforts in the exact opposite direction.

"We call on North Korea to pass the chair on to a credible country that will advance the disarmament agenda within the UN. Canada will be immediately reviewing our participation in this committee’s activities.

"North Korea should also open its facilities to international inspections.

"In October 2010, Canada announced the adoption of a controlled engagement policy toward North Korea and the imposition of additional economic sanctions against the regime under the Special Economic Measures Act. These measures followed a commitment made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper after the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan, which claimed the lives of 46 sailors.

"Canada will continue to take strong and principled positions in support of the fundamental Canadian values of democracy, human rights and justice."

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