The military relationship between Korea and Canada dates back to the time of the Korean War. The Canadian Defence Attaché and an Attaché Assistant represent the Canadian Forces presence in Korea.
As a member of the United Nations, Canada declared its support of South Korea following its sudden invasion by the Communist State of North Korea on June 25th, 1950. Canadian Naval Ships had arrived in the Korean Theatre of Operations on 30 July 1950. Contributing the third largest number of soldiers among the UN countries, Canada had dispatched 26,791 soldiers to South Korea 1950 and 27 July 1953. The United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) was established in July 1953 to supervise the implementation of the armistice agreement. The Canadian Forces posted one officer to UNCMAC.
As a result of the War, 516 Canadians died and of these 378 soldiers are buried in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan, South Korea. Another 16 soldiers have not been found and 5 sailors were lost at sea. The remaining 117 soldiers are buried in Canada and Japan.
The United Nations Command (UNC) Military Armistice Commission, headquartered in Seoul and Panmunjeom is responsible for supervising the 151 mile-long Demilitarized Zone(DMZ) under the authority of the Armistice Agreement signed between North and South Korea on 27 July 1953. The Armistice Agreement remains the UN's longest running Peacekeeping Mission. Canada contributes one Colonel (the Canadian Defence Attaché) and one Sergeant (the Canadian Defence Assistant Attaché) as a Liaison Team to the UNC and participates in Guard Post inspections, investigations of cease-fire violations and other events and ceremonies including Repatriation of War Remains from North Korea.
Canadian Defence Attachés have resided in Seoul since 1979. Since 1990, Defence Relations between the Republic of Korea and Canada have increased to include reciprocal training, official visits and exchanges of information.
In 2001, a Canadian Forces Staff College Exchange Program was initiated. In this program, a Canadian military officer learns and experiences the language and culture for 2 years in Korea, and attends the ROK Army Staff College. In exchange, a Korean military officer is chosen and sent by the ROK military on a yearly basis to the Canadian Forces Staff College in Toronto to attend a two month English language course followed by a one year Staff College Course. This exchange program allows the Canadian Forces and the Korean Military a continuing mutual understanding of each others military and culture ultimately enhancing ties between Canada and Korea.
Canadian veterans of the Korean War return to visit Korea every year in April under programs sponsored by the Korean Veterans Association of Korea. The Canadian Defence Relations Office, on behalf of Veteran's Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence Canada supports these visits and other commemorative activities.
Poppies are worn 2 weeks before the Canadian Remembrance Day of 11 November to commemorate the sacrifices of those who fought and died during the wars of the 20th century including the Korean War. Poppies are available in the reception area on the 9th and 10th floor of the Embassy from the 1st of November.
Col. Jacques Morneau
Canadian Defence Attaché
Tel.: 822 3783 6000
Fax: 822 3783 6139