New NGO to Promote Canada-North Korea Relations

The Canada-Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Association is a new NGO for the promotion of cultural ties between the two nations. It is a network of Canadians for the promotion of education and mutually beneficial relations between Canada and the DPR Korea. It resulted from two recent developments: the smoothing of diplomatic relations between Canada and North Korea and a request to Senator Lois Wilson, the Association's Chair, and Joseph Caron, Canada's Ambassador to DPRK by the Pyongyang-based Korea-Canada Friendship Society in 2001 to have greater contact with a Canadian counterpart for cultural exchanges.

Historically, Canada's role in the DPRK was through its involvement in the Korean war and the United Church's missionary presence. More recently, Canada is recognized through its government and NGO contributions to humanitarian aid and development assistance. According to Lois Wilson, it is because of this "unique historical relationship with Korea [that] we have a part to play in reducing tensions and building peace on the Peninsula."

"Canada is considered a safe place for dialogue, an 'honest broker' without any axes to grind," says Erich Weingartner, who was a humanitarian relief worker in Korea for more than two years. Canada's engagement policy comes at a crucial moment when United States' inclusion of the DPRK in its "axis of evil" threatens any opening of North Korea. As a result, the value of Canadian efforts to maintain and promote DPRK engagement increases substantially.

"Where conflicts have become entrenched, the first step is often getting to know each other again as human beings. Culture, arts, sports and religion can be very useful in this sense...[they help] build trust among people, which is the foundation for peace and reconciliation," according to Reverend Glen Davis of the Presbyterian Church of Canada. This principle is a step in building peace in the region, and improving the quality of life for Koreans while raising awareness of their culture among Canadians. People to people contact will be occur through academic and researcher exchanges and among civil society groups such as women's, religious, and athletic groups.

The Canada-DPRK Association can be reached at

Roche's Space Weapons Motion

Senator Douglas Roche, O.C. received an Honorary Doctor of Laws at York University on June 13. In his speech he announced his introduction of a motion in the Senate calling for Canada to lead an international effort to ban all weapons in space.

"This work has now become urgent following the official termination of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and US military plans to include space-based weapons in the National Missile Defence system," said Roche, adding, "Space will become the next battlefield unless the international community quickly moves to create a binding international agreement against the weaponization of space.... If Canada supports the US Missile Defence System as it proceeds into space, Canada will be breaking its long-held policy opposing weapons in space. A fundamental shift in Canada's foreign policy will then have occurred."

Sub-Launched Nukes

Former Pentagon and State Department officials say that Israel is arming three diesel submarines with new cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Israel tested a cruise missile from a submarine two years ago in the Indian Ocean. A former U.S. diplomat said, "The U.S. government 'favors' Israel's preserving the ambiguity surrounding its nuclear force, just as it has since the late 1960s. It gives it a strategic deterrence.... If [Israel] were being explicit, that would create problems with its neighbors like Egypt and Syria... whose leaders years ago agreed that [ambiguity] did not pose a threat to them."

Source: The Washington Post, 15 June 2002

New Study: Effects of Media Violence

Craig Anderson and Brad Bushman, two psychologists at Iowa State University, have published an article that again revealed negative effects of prolonged exposure to violent television. This is not a new finding, but lay readers seem not to be getting the message from the popular press. A meta-analysis of all available studies investigating the topic shows a positive link between media violence and aggression regardless of research method. Experimental studies demonstrate a causal link, and field experiments show causal effects in naturalistic settings. The effects are larger than the effects of calcium intake on bone mass or of lead exposure on IQ in children. Recent work demonstrates similar-sized effects of violent video games on aggression.

Source: Science Compass, Vol. 195 (5564) March;

Peace Magazine Jul-Sep 2002

Peace Magazine Jul-Sep 2002, page 31. Some rights reserved.

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