CanKor Report #27


CanKor Report first issued on Tuesday, 6 February 2001 when Canada, following a wave of EU countries, first established diplomatic relations with the DPRK. We reprint it here for your interest.


CANADA HAS ESTABLISHED DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH THE DPRK!  For most CanKor readers, this is welcome news, expected for the past four months.  We dedicate this entire issue of CanKor to the announcement.  The FOCUS section offers some additional background, and a sampling of press responses to date.  Of special interest is a letter sent to Minister Manley by Canadian churches who, together with a group of academics, have been at the forefront of efforts to move Canada in the direction of engagement with DPRK.


Contents:

  1. CANADA ANNOUNCES DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF KOREA
  2. LETTER FROM CANADIAN CHURCHES WELCOMING NORMALIZATION
  3. DPRK-CANADA CONSULTATION GATHERS IN TORONTO
  4. ROUNDTABLE ON NORTH KOREA HELD IN VICTORIA
  5. FOCUS: Background and Press Response to Normalization
  6. RECOMMENDATIONS OF A CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION
  7. CANADA-DPRK RELATIONS – A BRIEF OVERVIEW
  8. VOLUME OF CANADIAN NGO AID TO DPRK SINCE 1995
  9. CANADA ESTABLISHES DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH NORTH KOREA AFTER FIVE DECADES
  10. CANADA, NORTH KOREA ESTABLISH TIES
  11. CANADA TO OPEN EMBASSY IN NORTH KOREA
  12. CANADA FORGES DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH NORTH KOREA

CANADA ANNOUNCES DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF KOREA

Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade News Release, 6 February 2001 (8:00 a.m. EST) No. 17

John Manley, Foreign Affairs Minister, today announced that Canada has established diplomatic relations with the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK). The announcement follows the decision taken by Canada on July 26 to recognize the DPRK as a state and member of the international community. At that time, both nations agreed to begin technical discussions leading to the establishment of diplomatic relations.
“Establishing diplomatic relations will create formal channels through which Canada and the DPRK can further enhance communications and co-operation and develop a deeper understanding of each other,” said Mr. Manley. “At this juncture, Canada believes that closer relations with Pyongyang is the best way to contribute to security, non-proliferation and humanitarian challenges in the region.”

The Minister added that ties between both nations would be based on the principles of mutual respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs, and would be in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international laws and practices.

Since 1997, the Canadian government has donated approximately $30 million in humanitarian aid to the DPRK through the United Nations World Food Program and Canadian non-governmental organizations.

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LETTER FROM CANADIAN CHURCHES WELCOMING NORMALIZATION
[Following is the text of a letter sent by Canadian church representatives to Minister Manley today, following Canada’s normalization of relations with the DPRK.  — CanKor]

6 February 2001
The Hon. John Manley, MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs c/o Lester Pearson Bldg.
125 Sussex Dr.
Ottawa ON K1A 0G2

Dear Mr. Manley,

The Canadian churches welcome todays announcement by the Government of Canada that formal diplomatic relations have now been established with the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK).

As you are aware, Canadian churches have a long and deep history with the people of the Korean peninsula, both in the North and in the South.

Drawing on this historic connection, Canadian churches, in recent years, have supported initiatives to assist the people of the North to return to the world stage.  We have also been grateful that through the support of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), it has been possible to ensure that substantial food aid reached the DPRK.  Much of this aid has been channelled as matching grants through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB), a relief agency of Canadian churches.  As the North Korean people continue to weather the impact of chronic food shortages, Canadian churches pledge to continue raising resources and awareness to help meet their needs.

It is our hope that Canadas new relationship with the DPRK will be reinforced by continuing the much-needed humanitarian assistance.  In order to meet the longer-term needs of the Korean people, Canada should use its new relationship to generate substantial development programmes and work with both the North and the South for the building of a lasting peace and human security on the Korean peninsula.

The Canadian churches gladly offer their support for such initiatives and stand ready to participate in a meaningful dialogue with your representatives regarding these and other possible initiatives which will enhance our relationship with the Korean people.

Sincerely yours,
Rev. Dr. Nan Hudson, Co-Chair,
Rev. Dr. Bruce Gregersen, Co-Chair,
Canada-Asia Working Group*
c.c.  The Hon. Rey Pagtakhan, Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific)
Mr. David McLellan, Deputy Director, Korea and Oceania Division
(*The Canada-Asia Working Group is now the Asia Working Group of the Canadian Churches for Justice and Peace.)

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DPRK-CANADA CONSULTATION GATHERS IN TORONTO
CanKor team, Toronto, 15 & 16 January, 2001

The United Church of Canada convened a consultation in Toronto on 15 and 16 January, bringing together participants from various sectors active in Canada–DPRK relationships.  Represented were the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), a number of academics from Canadian universities, leaders of the Korean-Canadian community, churches with a history of engagement in Korea, as well as NGOs involved in North Korean relief efforts.

Keynote speaker was Kathi Zellweger, who coordinates humanitarian assistance to the DPRK for the Roman Catholic agency Caritas International.  Highlighting some of the changes she evidenced during more than 30 visits to North Korea, she concluded that NGOs are agents of change in an extremely complex environment.

Speaking for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB), aid programmer Marv Frey said that Canadian churches have sent over Cdn $26 million worth of food and agricultural aid to the DPRK since 1996. This includes matching grants from CIDA.

Senator Lois Wilson presented an update on the Canada-DPRK normalization process and underlined her hopes for an intensification of joint activities after normalization.  She stressed in particular the urgent need to go beyond food aid and develop people-to-people exchanges.
Programme Associate Yuhong Zhang of the Canadian Red Cross Society spoke of the special relationship shared with the North Korean Red Cross Society, which gives Red Cross workers in the DPRK a degree of autonomy not experienced by other agencies. A Canadian nurse is currently serving on the staff of the International Federation (IFRC) in Pyongyang.

The consultation reviewed the history of Canada-DPRK church relations, and highlighted international relationships and trends affecting DPRK in recent months.  Church representatives highlighted that three values attached to their work include partnership, relationship-building and reconciliation.
Canadian options for project planning and funding were discussed.  Government and CIDA representatives cautioned that increased funding was unlikely to become available even after normalization.  All new programming would therefore have to come out of existing budgets.  This news was greeted with some dismay by participants who pointed to the much more generous approach adopted by the Canadian Government when Vietnam began to open up.

The Consultation called on Canadian churches, academics, NGOs and government agencies to coordinate programming based on shared information.

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ROUNDTABLE ON NORTH KOREA HELD IN VICTORIA

CanKor team, Sidney, BC, 22 January 2001

A Roundtable on North Korea was organized at Dunsmuir Lodge near Victoria, BC by the Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development.  Participants represented Government, academia, NGOs, the Korean-Canadian community, and the private sector.

Presentations included:
— a report and the recommendations of a Canadian parliamentary research delegation which visited the DPRK in September 2000;
— a review of Canada-North Korea relations, with a focus on the normalization process;
— two perspectives on NGO involvement with the DPRK;
— a panel of business people looking at private sector interests and perspectives with regard to possibilities of trade with the DPRK;
— a presentation of the process of “Track II Diplomacy” which also highlighted academic and research interests in the DPRK region.
Reviewing a broad range of issues and concerns arising from relations with the DPRK, participants were challenged to promote Canada’s engagement without illusions.

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FOCUS: Background and Press Response to Normalization


RECOMMENDATIONS OF A CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION

Excerpts from a report published as CanKor #12 Supplement, 11 October 2000
[The research delegation led by Canadian Senator Lois Wilson in September 2000 was meant to give content to Canada’s eventual normalization of relations with the DPRK.  In light of today’s announcement of the signing of formal ties, it may be of interest to review the delegation’s principal findings and recommendations.  – CanKor]
(…) The principal findings are:
– the humanitarian crisis in the DPRK is acute and unlikely to subside in the near future. There are no visible signs that this has affected regime stability, however. The economy may be on life support, but this is not a failed state.
– there is little indication of political change or a systematic economic opening to market forces and the world economy.
– Canadian NGOs (e.g. Canadian Foodgrains Bank) and international organizations supported by Canada (e.g. UNDP and the World Food Programme) are the most visible Canadian presence in the DPRK and important agents of change and compassion.
– Canada-DPRK relations should be broadened in the interest of promoting peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, meeting humanitarian needs, and supporting Canadas role in North Pacific affairs.
– considering the unique nature of the DPRK regime and economy and the absence of substantive bilateral contacts, Canada needs to develop innovative mechanisms and approaches to move the relationship forward.
(…)  Recommendations:
1. Continue with humanitarian assistance in the short term in order to address critical food shortages; explore ways of moving in the medium term from humanitarian assistance to a sustainable development agenda.
2. Encourage the establishment and expansion of the Canadian NGO presence inside the DPRK.  This is clearly the most visible aspect of the Canadian presence in the DPRK, is meeting genuine humanitarian needs, and is establishing the contacts and levels of trust that are essential catalysts in opening north Korean society.
3. Continue existing dialogue mechanisms with the DPRK and look in future to supplement them with regularized academic exchanges and training programs.  The challenge will be to advance toward regular exchanges involving students, scientists and researchers in areas like agriculture, business and forestry.
4. Promote bilateral exchanges of government officials for purposes of capacity building, sharing of experiences, and broadening understanding.
5. Encourage governmental discussion on the entire range of non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament issues.  Some of this can be done on a track-two basis but it must be a priority on a governmental level after diplomatic relations are established.
6. Promote parliamentary exchanges.
7. Encourage business contact.  The DPRK would welcome Canadian business visits and raised the possibility of joint ventures, especially in the mining sector.
8. Encourage contacts on a people-to-people level between health care workers, athletic teams, cultural groups, women’s groups and religious organizations.
9. Establish formal diplomatic relations as soon as possible.  (…)

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CANADA-DPRK RELATIONS – A BRIEF OVERVIEW

Collated from various sources by the CanKor team, 6 February 2001

— As part of an international effort to promote wider engagement with the isolated Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Canada recognized it as a state in July 2000, and established full diplomatic relations in February 2001.
— From 1950 to 1953, a fratricidal war caused death and destruction throughout the Korean peninsula, dividing 10 million families, and hardening the post-World War II division of Korea for a further 50 years. Canada contributed the fourth-largest contingent to the UN Command under US leadership, providing 26,791 troops and suffering 516 fatalities.
— The “sunshine policy” of Nobel laureate President Kim Dae-Jung culminated in an historic summit and a Joint Declaration focussing on the consolidation of mutual trust; the establishment of mechanisms for ongoing dialogue and consultation; economic cooperation; resolution of humanitarian issues such as family reunions; and realizing peaceful reunification of Korea.
— Encouraged by the DPRK’s greater openness, Canada adopted a more proactive engagement policy toward the DPRK. On the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) a meeting between then Minister Axworthy and DPRK Foreign Minister Paek took place on 26 July 2000. This was the first Ministerial-level meeting between Canada and the DPRK.  Following the meeting Minister Axworthy announced that Canada recognizes the DPRK as a state.
— During 16-23 September 2000, a research mission led by Senator Lois Wilson visited the DPRK and met high-level officials of Government and Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, made a three-day trip into the countryside (South Hamgyong Province), attended a church service, and visited aid projects, a school, families, a cooperative farm, hospital, nursery, and a women’s organization, in addition to the more usual destinations of foreign delegations.
— Canadian Foreign Minister John Manley announced the full normalization of relations between Canada and the DPRK on 6 February 2001.
— Canada’s current engagement with the DPRK builds on significant Canadian relations with North Korea dating from the period of the Canadian churches’ mission to the north-east part of the peninsula one hundred years ago. After a hiatus of some 40 years, contact began again during the 1980s and intensified in the 1990s. This included DPRK participation in Track II cooperative security dialogue starting in 1990, attendance by Canadian Parliamentarians at the Interparliamentary Union (IPU) meeting in Pyongyang in 1991, Canadian contributions totalling $5 million to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) since 1994, Canadian humanitarian aid donations since 1996 exceeding $30 million through the UN World Food Programme, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and other Canadian NGOs, visits to Canada by delegations of DPRK agriculturists, academics and officials, and visits to the DPRK by Canadian churches, relief agencies, academics and government officials.
— Canadian trade with the DPRK is not extensive, but it does exist.  Canadian imports from the DPRK have fluctuated between $3 million and $8 million annually.  The major items are woven apparel; books, newspapers and manuscripts; paper and machinery.  Canadian exports have ranged between $100,000 and $700,000 and are principally pharmaceutical products; wood pulp and wood; mineral fuel and oil.

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VOLUME OF CANADIAN NGO AID TO DPRK SINCE 1995

The CanKor team (first published in CanKor #3, 8 August 2000)
————————————————-
NGO Humanitarian aid from 1995-1999 in CAN$
————————————————-
Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB)  20,755,000
World Vision Canada  3,425,442
Canadian Red Cross Society  595,000
Global Aid Network (GAIN)  10,000
Oxfam Canada  6,700
————————————————-
NGO Humanitarian aid from January to August 2000
————————————————-
Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB)  4,234,000
Canadian Red Cross Society  144,000
————————————————-
Total to August 2000  29,170,142

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CANADA ESTABLISHES DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH NORTH KOREA AFTER FIVE DECADES

Canadian Press Agency (CP), Ottawa, 6 February 2001

Canada has established diplomatic relations with North Korea, ending five decades of hostile relations with what was once one of the most isolated countries in the world.

John Manley announced Tuesday in a press release that Canada has followed up on last years decision to recognize the Democratic Republic of Korea as a state and member of the international community.
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said the time had come to normalize relations with the communist country which, for decades, strictly limited international contact.  “The situation has changed there, and we have come to the conclusion that, you know, dialogue is better than isolation,” he said following a cabinet meeting.

Several countries have formalized relations with the country since it began taking steps last year toward settling its differences with the world.  North Korea had been an international pariah, in large part, for its refusal to allow inspection of its nuclear program.

Canada hopes formal ties will encourage stability and security in the Korean Peninsula, said Manley. Canadas decision was inspired by the willingness expressed by Kim Dae-jung, South Koreas president, to reconcile with his northern neighbour.

“We have seen progress in opening North Korea that is (Kims) encouragement,” said Manley.  “If there is increasing openness and Canada can be engaged, then perhaps we can contribute to an improving situation in North Korea.”

Last month, the Netherlands established relations with North Korea — following in the footsteps of Austria, Denmark, Finland, Portugal, Sweden, Italy and Britain.  Turkey also signed an agreement with the country on working toward formalizing relations, but no date has been set.

Communist North Korea split from democratic South Korea in 1945. The two countries fought in the Korean War from 1950-53, which ended with an uneasy truce and a closed border.  Many families were split during the war, some of whom were reunited in limited visits arranged last year.  North and South Korea are now trying to find ways to reconcile, as well as deal with the Norths collapsed economy and the major energy and food shortages.

North Korea has also been chastised for developing missiles and exporting them to countries the US considers hostile.  Many analysts are convinced North Korea already has the capacity to strike at the perimeter of the US with a long-range missile.  That has been one of the prime reasons that the US wants to build a controversial missile shield that would protect it from attacks from “rogue states.”
North Korea promised last year to restrain their missile program following a visit to the country from the US secretary of state.

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CANADA, NORTH KOREA ESTABLISH TIES

by Jeff Gray, Globe and Mail Update, 6 February 2001

Canada has officially established diplomatic relations with North Korea, a move that follows Ottawas decision to recognize the once-isolated Stalinist state last year.

Closer ties with Pyongyang are “the best way to contribute to security, non-proliferation and humanitarian challenges in the region,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley said in a statement released Tuesday.
Several other countries, including Britain, Italy and the Netherlands, have recently established ties with North Korea, long considered to have one of world�s most repressive and mercurial autocratic regimes.
Diplomatic relations will provide “formal channels” for Canada and North Korea to exchange views and information, Mr. Manley said.
The thaw in relations comes after breakthrough talks last year between leader Kim Jong-il and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung. South Korea�s Mr. Kim was awarded the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts at establishing a détente on the divided peninsula.
Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Marie-Christine Lilkoff said South Korea fully supports Canadas move to establish diplomatic ties. She also said that Canada remains concerned about North Koreas human rights record.
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said the move was the right step for Canada to take. “The situation has changes there. We have come to the conclusion that that dialogue is better than isolation,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Ottawa.

Despite the new relationship, Canadian diplomats will not be setting up shop in Pyongyang. Ms. Lilkoff said Canadas ambassador in Beijing will handle relations with North Korea.  Ms. Lilkoff also said that while North Korea is now able to open an embassy in Ottawa if it wants to, the country has not informed Canada of any plans to do so.

Last July, Canada decided to officially recognize North Korea, which is formally called the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, 50 years after Ottawa sent troops to fight communists from the North in the Korean War.  Since last years decision, technical discussions have taken place on the establishment of diplomatic ties.

Intelligence sources said at the time that the decision was made against the wishes of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, as Canadas spy agency was worried about alleged North Korean efforts to steal Canadian nuclear technology.

Last year, a former Canadian ambassador to South Korea alleged that North Korea had plotted to assassinate prime minister Pierre Trudeau and then South Korean president Chun Doo-hwan in 1981, while Mr. Trudeau was visiting the region.

After the Korean War, North Korea spent five-decades in self-imposed exile, accused of sponsoring terrorism and of trying to develop long-range nuclear missiles.  As recently as 1998, it shocked the world when it test fired a Taepodong long-range missile over Japan.

North Koreas 22 million people have also suffered a five-year famine, believed to have killed hundreds of thousands.  The Department of Foreign Affairs said that since 1997, the Canadian government has donated about $30-million in humanitarian aid to North Korea, through the United Nations World Food Program and Canadian aid groups.

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CANADA TO OPEN EMBASSY IN NORTH KOREA

CBC WebPosted, Ottawa, 6 February 2001

Canada has established diplomatic ties with North Korea, allowing both countries to open embassies in each others territory for the first time.
Ottawa established formal relations with the Peoples Republic last July, joining a growing number of countries helping the Stalinist state shed decades of isolation.

“Establishing diplomatic relations will create formal channels through which Canada and North Korea can further enhance communications and co-operation and develop a closer understanding of each other,” said Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley in a statement.

Manley said the move will also help bring security to the troubled Korean Peninsula. North and South Korea have been separate since the end of the Second World War.

Since 1997 Ottawa has donated approximately $30 million in humanitarian aid to North Korea through the United Nations World Food Program and Canadian aid organizations.
Canada is the fourth of the Group of Eight nations to recognize Pyongyang, after Russia, Italy and Britain.

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CANADA FORGES DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH NORTH KOREA

by David Ljunggren, Reuters, Ottawa, 6 February 2001

Canada said Tuesday it had established diplomatic relations with North Korea, the isolated impoverished Stalinist state that is slowly opening up to the outside world.
Canada becomes the fourth member of the Group of Eight powerful nations — after Russia, Italy and Britain — to fully recognize the heavily-armed state of 22 million people, which the West fears still has the potential to destabilize large parts of the Far East.
Foreign Minister John Manley said that Canada believed forging closer relations with Pyongyang was the best way to contribute to security, non-proliferation and humanitarian challenges in the region.
“Establishing diplomatic relations will create formal channels through which Canada and North Korea can further enhance communications and cooperation and develop a closer understanding of each other,” Manley said in a statement.
In the last two months Britain and the Netherlands have established diplomatic relations with North Korea. Two weeks ago the German cabinet approved plans to move forward with cementing diplomatic ties with Pyongyang.

A senior Canadian official said Ottawa supported South Korean President Kim Dae-jungs “sunshine policy” of engagement with North Korea.
“We want to help the South Korean sunshine policy. We think we have a small role to play. I certainly think Canada has a role to help the North Korean government and officials along in internationalizing themselves,” he told Reuters.
Britain said in December that engagement and not estrangement was the best policy toward the Stalinist country, which until recently was branded by the West as a pariah for its isolationism and aggressive nuclear proliferation policies.
The United States is currently trying to reach agreement with North Korea under which Pyongyang would stop producing and selling ballistic missiles in exchange for foreign help in launching satellites.

Political Exchanges

The Canadian official said Ottawa and North Korea, which now need to agree on the number of diplomats in each country, were unlikely to open embassies within the next year or so.
“We are not going to open an embassy in Pyongyang for political reasons. We are going to open an embassy — and it would be a small one — when there is enough business going back and forth,” the official said.
He said such business would include political exchanges, visits by non-governmental organizations, Canadian aid programs and commercial business.
“The ball is to some extent in the North Korean court. If they are very forthcoming and allow us access and everything else — which of course we have insisted upon — it moves the (ball) forward and makes it easier.”
Until now Canadian diplomats and academics visiting North Korea have set out from Beijing, where Canada has a large embassy. The closest official North Korean representation to Ottawa is in New York.
Manley said that since 1997 Ottawa had donated approximately C$30 million ($20 million) in humanitarian aid to North Korea through the United Nations World Food Program and Canadian aid organizations.
The Canadian official said Ottawa might be able to increase its aid to North Korea, which has been badly hit by drought and natural disasters over the last few years.

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End CanKor # 27
CanKor is an electronic news clipping service for Canadians interested in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Financial support is received from the Northeast Asia Cooperation Project based in the Programme on Canada-Asia Policy Studies at the University of British Columbia. Copyright of all items listed or reprinted rests with the original publishers. CanKor accepts no liability for inaccuracies, errors or omissions. Those wishing to publish material presented here must consult original copyright holders. CanKor welcomes contributions of Canadian news items, commentaries, papers, and book reviews. To subscribe or unsubscribe, and for all other communication, please address the CanKor editorial team by e-mail at editor(at)CanKor.ca. Editor: Erich Weingartner; Research: Miranda Weingartner and Marion Current.

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One Response to “CanKor Report #27”

  1. North Korea: Witness to Transformation | A Canadian Diplomatic Model? Says:

    […] explains that the country recognized North Korea and established diplomatic relations in 2001. The now defunct CANKOR provided a collection of documents surrounding the normalization. But Ottawa then imposed increased […]


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