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Canada to North Korea: You’re not welcome here

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By Rhiannon Coppin

“Canada has condemned the reckless North Korean regime for this egregious violation of international law and its blatant disregard of its international obligations,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement on Monday.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement on Victoria Day that Canada is joining sides with South Korea in countering North Korea’s apparent act of aggression on March 26, 2010, that involved the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan, which claimed 46 lives.

“Canada is now committed to a coordinated international response, including through the UN Security Council, as a result of this act,” Harper declared in a written press release.

Canada will “move to suspend high-level visits to Canada by North Korean officials,” Harper said.

Canada’s declaration came in response to statements made Sunday by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

“I solemnly urge the authorities of North Korea … to apologise immediately to the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the international community,” Myung-bak said in a nationally televised address.

Myung-bak’s government moved to ban all trade, investment and visits with North Korea, Reuters reported.

Harper’s statements on Monday follow closely with South Korea’s desires: “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.”

“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 G8 partners on this situation,” Harper said.

Three experts from the Canadian Navy, in concert with representatives from Australia, Sweden, the UK and the U.S., assisted in the investigation that concluded that North Korea was responsible for the sinking of the South Korean ship, the Canadian press release stated.

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