Numerous reports and rumours about the non-existent role of Canada in the “The Joint Civilian-Military Investigation Group” (JIG) have been circulating in the media. DPRK Ambassador Sin Son Ho told a Press Conference in New York that “Canada officially announced that it would send its experts to south Korea on 16 May 2010, four days before the release of the ’investigation result’ by south Korea and nothing is known about when they arrived in south Korea and whether they really participated in the joint investigation.” Similar comments can be found in John McGlynn’s paper in The Asia-Pacific Journal, and CanKor reader “Jay” asked detailed questions about Canada’s role as a comment in the CanKor Blog.
According to CanKor sources in Ottawa, Canada sent three Navy personnel to participate in the Cheonan investigation.
“The team was led by Capt (N) Steve Virgin. The team participated in the multinational investigation at the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Korea. The Canadian experts spent approximately one week in Seoul, working with South Korea and the other multinational team members. The team was representing Canada, but was in Seoul specifically to bring their areas of expertise to the multinational effort. On 20 May 2010, the Ministry of Defence of South Korea made public a report entitled, Investigation Result on the Sinking of ROKS ‘Cheonan’. The Canadian team fully endorsed South Korea’s findings and the report.”
The question that remains open is whether there was enough time for the Canadian team to come to an informed assessment of the facts between their departure from Canada on 16 May (which means a jet-lagged arrival in Seoul on 17 May at the earliest) and the release of the ROK Ministry’s conclusions announced by Canada’s Foreign Minister on 19 May (Canadian time).
The following articles represent the only official information publicly available from the Government of Canada at this time:
- Canadian Naval Expertise to Assist in Multinational Investigation into the Cheonan Sinking (No. 165 – May 16, 2010 – 9:45 a.m. ET)
- Statement by Ministers Cannon and MacKay on the Results of the Multinational Enquiry into the Sinking of the Cheonan (No. 170 – May 19, 2010 – 11:35 p.m. ET)
- Statement by Minister Cannon on UNSC Meeting on Sinking of South Korean Vessel Cheonan (No. 191 – June 16, 2010 – 4:50 p.m. ET)