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 vesselCheonan, 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."
On June 17th, 2011, the Aurea Foundation held the seventh semi-annual Munk Debate in Toronto. The participants debated the question "Does the 21st century belong to China?" Historian and author Niall Fergusson and David Daokui Li from Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management in Beijing argued for the resolution. Henry Kissinger, U.S. Secretary of State from 1973 to 1977, and Fareed Zakaria, CNN Host and Editor-at-Large of TIME Magazine, spoke against the resolution.
Prime Minister Harper said: "Power is shifting. New forces are coming to the fore. Some we will be pleased to work with. Some we must resist. In such a world, strength is not an option; it is a vital necessity. Moral ambiguity, moral equivalence are not options, they are dangerous illusions."