Week of October 16 – October 20, 2021
North Korea has been watched with a close eye by the international community for years, due to the unpredictable and reclusive personality of its leader, Kim Jong Il. The country is one of the most isolated and secretive nations in the world. However, Kim Jong Il has become especially well-known to the international community over the last five years for subjecting his country to abject poverty and for his threats to re-start a nuclear program. It now appears that the world’s fear of North Korea developing and testing nuclear weapons has been realized, following the country’s announcement last week that it had tested a nuclear weapon. I would like to use this week’s journal to discuss the implications of this apparent test for Canada and the international community, as well as Canada’s response to this most serious situation.
Soon after the apparent test on October 8th, there was strong global condemnation of the country’s act, which if true, would constitute a threat to the peace and security not only of the region, but the world as a whole. An emergency Security Council meeting was held on October 9th, in New York, where members condemned North Korea and demanded that the country resume “six-party talks” (with China, the United States, Japan, Russia, and South Korea) on its weapons program. Even one of North Korea’s closest allies, China, denounced the country’s test, saying that it would negatively impact relations between the two countries and has called for the United Nations to take punitive action. China has also insisted that North Korea return to six-party talks to encourage a peaceful resolution to the current crisis.
In Canada, Prime Minister Harper sharply condemned the apparent nuclear test carried out by North Korea. Our new Government believes that it undermines regional peace and stability, as well as global efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons. Our Government also believes that it is important to continue working with the United Nations Security Council, to address the risks to Northeast Asia and beyond, caused by the North Korean nuclear test. North Korea’s security, economic and political goals can only be achieved through the framework of the existing six-party talks, not through nuclear tests.
The implications of North Korea’s apparent nuclear testing for both Canada and the international community are enormous and potentially represent a new nuclear era, but with the international community working with the United Nations in a unified stance, North Korea will hopefully return to six-party talks in the near future to achieve a peaceful resolution.