Canada stays off UN panel while N. Korea is the headOTTAWA - Canada is boycotting the UN Conference on Disarmament in protest after North Korea took over the rotating presidency of the body, Foreign Minister John Baird said Monday.
“I think what we’ll do is simply withdraw and boycott any activities of the conference until after Aug. 19,” Baird said. “The bottom line is, that with respect to disarmament, North Korea has been a rogue regime.”
Pyongyang holds the rotating presidency of the UN body from June 28 to Aug. 19 and has said it is ready to engage with it on nuclear arms control talks, which have been in a deadlock for the last two years.
But Canada wanted to take “a tough line,” Baird said in a telephone press conference, adding it was not good for this conference “if a country like Canada just remains quiet.”
“Today we are suspending our participation in the UN Conference on Disarmament,” Baird said in a separate statement.
“Canada will resume its engagement in the Conference on Disarmament following the end of North Korea’s presidency on Aug. 19.”
“North Korea is simply not a credible chair of this UN body. The regime is a major proliferator of nuclear weapons and its noncompliance with its disarmament obligations goes against the fundamental principles of this committee,” he said.
“This undermines the integrity of both the disarmament framework and the UN. Canada will not be party to that.”
Canada is the only one of the conference’s 65 members to have taken such a hard line.
North Korea, which has tested two nuclear bombs, stormed out of six-nation denuclearization talks in 2009 when it accused the United States of hostility.
Pyongyang has since said it is willing to talk, but the Obama administration wants it to commit clearly to past denuclearization accords.
Asked about Canada’s action, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department said there were no plans for Washington to follow suit.
“We have chosen not to make a big deal out of this, because it’s a relatively low-level, inconsequential event,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in Washington.
The conference is “a consensus-based organization, so nothing can be decided just because the chair is a country that we have issues with,” she said.
“Is it great? It’s not great, but it’s not going to affect our policy on disarmament or the focus of our attention, which is in the P5-plus-one,” she added, referring to the six-party talks aimed at reining in North Korea’s nuclear program.
Pakistan’s lone public opposition in starting talks on the production of new nuclear bomb-making material has led to the deadlock in discussions at the Conference on Disarmament since 2009.
한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
캐나다 기가 막혀 … 군축회의 보이콧
“북한이 의장국? 터무니없다
돌아가며 맡는 방식 바꿀 것”
북한이 제네바 군축회의(CD) 순회의장국을 맡은 것에 항의해 캐나다가 군축회의 참여 보이콧을 선언했다. 존 베어드(John Baird) 캐나다 외무장관은 11일(현지시간) “군축과 완전히 정반대 방향으로 가려는 활동을 감안할 때 북한이 순회의장국을 맡는다는 것은 터무니없는 일”이라며 “캐나다는 북한의 의장국 임기가 끝나는 다음 달 19일까지 군축회의 대표단을 보내지 않을 것”이라고 밝혔다.
베어드 장관은 “이런 방식은 솔직히 잘못된 것”이라며 “군축회의 의장국을 돌아가면서 맡는 방식의 변경을 추진할 것”이라고 말했다 그는 북한에 “의장국 지위를 국제사회가 신뢰할 수 있는 국가에 넘길 것”을 촉구했다. 북한은 지난달 말 순번제로 맡는 군축회의 의장국이 됐다.
한편 미국은 이 문제에 대해 보이콧 대신 무시하겠다는 입장을 밝혔다. 미 국무부 빅토리아 뉼런드(Victoria Nuland) 대변인은 이날 정례브리핑에서 “군축회의 의장국은 60개국이 돌아가면서 맡는 것으로, 이번은 그들(북한)의 차례”라며 “미국은 그들이 의장국을 맡은 데 따른 특별한 피해를 예상하지 않는다”고 말했다.