Testimony Before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, June 4, 2013

[On June 4, 2013, I was called as a witness to testify before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Below is the entirety of my prepared statement – I believe, there were some off the cuff remarks that probably drove the French language interpreters nuts.]

Jack KimGood afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the Committee. Thank you for inviting me today to speak. As I wear several hats when it comes to North Korea, whether it is HanVoice, www.cankor.ca, or the North Korean Human Rights Film Festival Toronto, on behalf of all these organizations, I again extend my thanks.

Canada’s DPRK Policy: Controlled Engagement

Canada’s response to North Korea has been, at least rhetorically, aggressive. Since 2010 our government has pursued what has been termed a “Controlled Engagement” policy. The Controlled Engagement (“CE”) policy restricted bilateral contact with the regime except to four distinct areas: regional security concerns, human rights and the humanitarian situation, inter-Korean relations, and consular issues. It also forbid Canadians from importing and exporting anything into North Korea, and also introduced strict technology and investment sanctions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rodman and Nukes by Victor Hsu

[CanKor Brain Trust member Prof. Victor Hsu, Director of International Aid and Education, Adjunct Advisor on North Korea at the School of Public Policy and Management, Korea Development Institute, sent us his musings on the media response to American basketball star Dennis Rodman’s visit with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un as well as reaction to North Korea’s nuclear test. –CanKor]

Dennis Rodman hugs North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a photo released by KCNA news agency. (Reuters/KCNA)

Dennis Rodman hugs North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a photo released by KCNA news agency. (Reuters/KCNA)

I want to give you my two cents worth regarding all the fuss about Rodman and the third nuclear test.

On Rodman’s visit, if the officialdom would not engage, if the officialdom does not take a pro-active stance to engage, if the officialdom simply refuses to engage, then what option does the DPRK have but to engage with non-officialdom types like the NY Symphony, Rodman and Eric Schmidt?

I might add that the media do not see these steps as DPRK opening up! What about the lifting of restrictions on tour groups to visit the country? What about the permission to use the Internet and mobile phones?

You have to ask yourself whether the DPRK can ever do anything right? Or are they condemned to oblivion unless there is a pro-USA regime change? On the international response to the third nuclear test, is is all too deja vu. There is little analysis by the commentariat. Most of the blogs and experts are simply saying the obvious about the UNSC, the role of China and are now predicting a worsening of Inter-Korean relations. In fact, the experts seem to want military action because they are at their wits end about the “maddening” lack of cooperation of the DPRK. They have put themselves in a “No Exit” CVID analysis. [CVID stands for Complete, Verifiable and Irreversible Dismantlement. –CanKor] Read the rest of this entry »

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