CanKor editors are guests on Context with Lorna Dueck

Don’t miss CanKor editor-in-chief Erich Weingartner and CanKor Human Factor blog editor Jack Kim on Context with Lorna Dueck. The two participated as guests on this Christian television talk show that airs on a number of stations across Canada.

In an email after the show was taped, Producer Sannah Choi wrote the following:

“Thank you so very much for your outstanding contribution to the show last evening. Your expertise and perspective were so valuable and appreciated by many in the audience with whom I spoke last night. It left them thinking and more aware of the situation in North Korea.”

The show is expected to air on Sunday, 5 February on Global TV at 9:30 am EST and on Vision TV at 12:30 pm EST. Additional details on times and stations are posted here.

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DPRK Ambassador thanks CanKor

[Ambassador Sin Son Ho, the DPRK ambassador to Canada and Permanent Representative to the United Nations headquarters in New York, expressed his “deepest thanks” to CanKor Editor-in-Chief Erich Weingartner for the message of condolence on the death of DPRK leader Kim Jong Il. A PDF file of the signed letter on UN Mission letterhead can be found here. The text of the letter is as follows. –CanKor]

CanKor Editor Erich Weingartner with DPRK Ambassador Sin Son Ho.

New York, 12 January 2012

Dear Mr. Erich Weingartner,

I would like to express my deepest thanks to you for your message of condolences on 19 December 2012 on the sudden passing of His Excellency KIM JONG IL, General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army.

Your message of condolences in sharing the sorrow with us represents a great support and inspiration to our people, who have turned their grief over the loss of their leader into courage and strength and are fully resolved to surely build a socialist prosperous and powerful country, upholding the behest of great leader KIM JONG IL and single-mindedly unite around His Excellency KIM JONG UN, Supreme Leader of the Party, State and Military of DPRK.

Best regards,

Sin Son Ho


Permanent Representative

South Koreans are NOT allowed to see this!

Several days ago I received an urgent message from a colleague residing in Seoul, South Korea, asking me to send him a copy of North Korea’s New Year Joint Editorial. This is an annual policy statement that the DPRK has issued since the death of former leader Kim Il Sung. It is called “Joint Editorial” because it is published simultaneously by the three leading North Korean newspapers: the Rodong Sinmun (official daily of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea), Joson Inmingun (daily of the Korean People’s Army), and Chongnyon Jonwi (daily of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League).

South Korean civic group and family members of prisoners shout slogans during a rally denouncing the National Security Law in Seoul, 7 December 2011. The banner reads "(Abolish) National Security Law." (AP Photo/ Lee Jin-man)

My colleague needed to study the text of the editorial for a paper he was writing. Try as he may, he was unable to access any website that published the entire document. All websites emanating from the DPRK and any others that might reproduce North Korean propaganda are blocked under South Korea’s National Security Law (NSL). This law was enacted in 1948, just three and a half months after the establishment of the Republic of Korea. Its avowed purpose is “to restrict anti-state acts that endanger national security and to protect [the] nation’s safety and its people’s life and freedom.”

In the past, this law was used not only to shield South Koreans from North Korean influence, but also to prosecute democracy and human rights movements of South Korean citizens by the dictators who ruled South Korea until the restoration of democracy. Between 1961 and 2002, at least 13,178 people were indicted, and 182 of them executed, under the law, according to human rights groups. While attempts to repeal the NSL by two ROK “Sunshine” presidents (Kim Dae-Jung and Roh Moo-Hyun) failed, the law was less rigorously applied under their administrations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Radio interview with Charles Burton and Erich Weingartner

CanKor Brain Trust member Charles Burton and CanKor Editor Erich Weingartner were interviewed on CJAD 800 AM News. Talk. Radio: Viewpoints, airing 14 January 2012 from noon onwards.

Viewpoints with Todd van der Heyden airs Saturdays, 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. Van der Heyden is the co-anchor of the 12pm and 6pm newscasts on CTV Montreal. Before he started at CTV, he worked at CBC Radio. He has won awards for his investigative work for On Your Side on CTV and for the years he spent as a general reporter.

Each week Viewpoints examines the top stories of the week, from politics, to justice, to entertainment. This particular edition of the show discusses recent events in North Korea.

Is Canada quietly feeding North Koreans? by Erich Weingartner

Without much fanfare, several countries have made modest donations to the WFP for food distribution in the DPRK. Surprisingly, one of these is Canada. Readers may remember that in response to a request by CanKor, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) last May indicated that “Canada has not made any further commitments to support the delivery of humanitarian assistance beyond those made between 2007 and 2009 through the World Food Programme.” (See: Will Canada Provide Humanitarian Aid to the DPRK?)

It turns out that isn’t quite accurate. The DPRK “Project Profile” on CIDA’s own website, dated 17 February 2011, indicates that Canada pledged $2,500,000 for food aid to the DPRK via the WFP. (See: Project profile for Food Assistance in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – WFP 2011) It also states that the grant is for 2011-2013.

Meanwhile, the WFP website indicates that Canada contributed $2,502,503 for the WFP’s current emergency operation in DPRK, designed to target the 3.5 million people most at risk of serious damage to their health as a result of the current food shortages. (See: WFP Operations page for DPRK)

Our request for clarification to CIDA has remained unanswered for the past two weeks. Meanwhile, Abdurrahim Siddiqui, the Deputy-Country Director for WFP Pyongyang offered this clarification in an email message to CanKor: Read the rest of this entry »

Let them eat sanctions, by Erich Weingartner

Photo by Erich Weingartner

On 15 August—the day that both Koreas celebrate their liberation from Japanese colonial rule—the Canadian Government enacted new sanctions against the DPRK. According to John Baird, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, these are additional punishments “in a series of steps our government has taken in recent years to forcefully declare Canada’s opposition to aggressive actions by the current North Korean regime.”

The new round of sanctions bans all exports and imports, including technical data, to North Korea, as well as all new investment in the country. It also bars the provision of financial services to North Korea and to persons in North Korea, although personal remittances of less than $1,000 continue to be permitted. Presumably this is to allow North Korean refugees and defectors to support families back home.

“This is a regime that shows contempt for international will through its belligerent actions,” adds Minister Baird, “and that chooses to fund military and nuclear programs while the basic needs of the North Korean population go unmet.” Read the rest of this entry »

Reaction to Canadian boycott of UN Conference on Disarmament by Dwain Epps and Erich Weingartner

[This discussion was originally posted as comments under “Canada boycotts UN body over North Korea“. However we felt these opinions by CanKor Brain Trust member Dwain Epps and CanKor Editor-in-Chief Erich Weingartner were substantive enough to deserve a blog post of their own. –CanKor.]

Conference on Disarmament - 2011 Session (UN photo/Pierre Albouy)

Dwain Epps writes:

One can only lament this announcement that comes as yet another sign that the present Canadian Government has no mind of its own and is apparently either unaware of or repudiates Canada’s distinguished past in international relations. Though Canada has never been a declared Non-Aligned nation, in the midst of the Cold War it played a critical role as one of the “Middle Powers” serving as a bridge between the two great nuclear powers. It was widely recognized as a constructive player in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in the 1970s, and again in the early 1980s it provided a bridge during the nuclear weapons standoff when the great powers stubbornly refused to negotiate. Read the rest of this entry »

Playing Chicken at the Brink

“Did Seoul just win a terrifying game of chicken?” This question (from a Tweet by Beijing-based Globe & Mail correspondent Mark Mackinnon) was on many minds this week.

On Monday, 20 December 2010, the South Korean military completed a provocative 94-minute live-fire drill as part of its military exercize on Yeonpyeong Island. Despite threats of a deadly response, North Korea failed to take action.

A month earlier, a similar exercize prompted North Korea to launch a deadly artillery barrage on the island, destroying the homes of villagers and leaving two civilians and two soldiers dead, many others wounded.

DPRK: Stop shooting into our territorial waters!
ROK: Stop shooting onto our islands!
DPRK: You do that again and we’ll shoot harder!
ROK: Just go ahead! Make our day!

Read the rest of this entry »

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