21 February 2011
Burnaby, British Columbia
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today marked the launch of the Canada Korea Foundation, which will further strengthen the ties between Canada and the Republic of Korea. The Prime Minister marked the launch of the foundation at a dinner where he met with Korean and Canadian veterans of the Korean War and leaders of the local Korean-Canadian community. He was joined by Senator Yonah Kim-Martin, Canada's first parliamentarian of Korean origin.
"The Asia-Pacific region will play a large part in Canada's future economic growth and it would be hard to find two countries better suited for each other as trading partners than Canada and the Republic of Korea," said Prime Minister Harper. "I wish the Foundation well in its efforts to build and strengthen diplomatic relations between our two countries."
The Canada Korea Foundation will have the following goals:
- Build and strengthen bilateral trade and diplomatic relations.
- Support efforts towards reaching a free trade agreement
- Nurture the opportunities for increased social interaction between Canada and South Korea - especially within the business community
- Encourage greater involvement of Korean-Canadians in our democratic process and public policy development
- Develop a strategy to help attract more Korean students to Canada
- Advocate a Canada-Korea energy strategy, as South Korea looks to Canada as a secure, stable and reliable source of energy to fuel future economic growth.
- Promote awareness and appreciation of the shared history and values that link Canadians and Koreans.
Canada and South Korea enjoy excellent commercial relations with two-way merchandise trade reaching $9.5 billion in 2009. The roughly 200,000 Canadians of Korean descent represent one of the fastest growing ethnic communities in Canada. The community has found its voice as an important and influential contributor to the social, political and economic fabric of the country.