Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada in regards of the announcement by President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea

Ottawa, Ontario
24 May 2010

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement today regarding the announcement by President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea on his country's actions in response to the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan.

“Today, we express Canada’s unwavering commitment to stand with the people of South Korea, and to support President Lee Myung-bak in his decision to act decisively following the act of aggression by North Korea on March 26, 2010.

"We have expressed our condolences for the lives lost on the Cheonan. Canada is now committed to a coordinated international response, including through the UN Security Council, as a result of this act.

"The Government of Canada will take steps to impose enhanced restrictions on trade, investment and other bilateral relations with North Korea, including the addition of North Korea to the Area Control List.  We will also move to suspend high-level visits to Canada by North Korean officials.

“Canada will also continue to consult and cooperate with South Korea, as well as our partners and friends, to ensure that a strong global approach is taken toward the current situation on the Korean peninsula. Canada remains committed to peace and stability in the region. We are in close contact with Canada's G-8 partners on this situation.

“The Government of Canada takes a principled stand in support of our democratic allies and will thus be swift and resolute in our response to this tragic event.

“Canada assisted in the investigation, which concluded that North Korea was responsible for this act.

"Canada has condemned the reckless North Korean regime for this egregious violation of international law and its blatant disregard of its international obligations."

On March 26, 2010, the Cheonan sank in waters near the Northern Limit Line, claiming the lives of 46 sailors. At the request of the South Korean government, Canada deployed three experts from the Canadian Navy to join the multinational team, which was led by South Korea and included representatives from Australia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and United States. The multinational team provided expert advice on the investigation and the conclusions reached by South Korea.