Canada renews its military contribution to multinational initiative to counter North Korea’s maritime sanctions evasion

News release

April 23, 2021 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, announced that the Government of Canada is extending Operation NEON until April 30, 2023. Operation NEON is Canada’s contribution to a coordinated multinational effort to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions imposed against North Korea.

The UNSC sanctions, adopted between 2006 and 2017, aim to pressure North Korea to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner. Alongside key partners and allies, Canada is helping to address the threat to international security posed by North Korea’s ongoing nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

This two-year renewal of Operation NEON will allow the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to continue deploying military ships, aircraft and personnel to conduct surveillance operations to identify suspected maritime sanctions evasion activities, in particular ship-to-ship transfers of fuel and other commodities banned by the UNSC resolutions. Canada’s contribution will bolster the integrity of the global sanctions regime against North Korea.

Operation NEON underscores the importance that Canada places on security in the Indo-Pacific region, international security and the importance of upholding the UNSC sanctions regime. It further demonstrates Canada’s resolve in standing with allies and partners in accordance with Canadian values, in line with Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged

Quotes

“Canada is committed to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. The extension of Operation NEON demonstrates Canada’s continued support of the UN Security Council sanctions regime, which seeks to compel North Korea to change course and abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Canada fully supports the UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea. Through Operation NEON, we provide a meaningful presence, strengthen regional ties, and support the rules-based international order. Canada is resolute in standing with our allies and partners in accordance with Canadian values.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

Quick facts

  • North Korea continues to adapt its methods of sanctions evasion. Canada is working with partners and allies, in a coordinated, multinational effort to identify the apparent evasion of maritime sanctions, in particular through ship-to-ship transfers, contrary to UNSC resolutions.

  • Since 2019, Canada has periodically deployed CAF ships, aircraft and personnel to conduct surveillance operations as part of the multinational initiative to counter North Korea's evasion of maritime sanctions. Previously conducted under Op PROJECTION Asia-Pacific, Canada now supports this effort under “Operation NEON”.

  • Canada's contribution bolsters the integrity of the global sanctions regime against North Korea by assisting the international community in holding to account those whose actions violate UNSC resolutions. The following Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ships and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft have deployed on Operation NEON:

    • HMCS Regina, with an embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter, Naval Replenishment Unit (NRU) Asterix and an RCAF CP-140 Aurora Air Detachment deployed in June 2019;
    • HMCS Ottawa with an embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter, and CP-140 Aurora Air Detachment deployed in September 2019; and,
    • HMCS Winnipeg with an embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter and a CP-140 Aurora Air Detachment deployed in October 2020.
  • The CAF is currently planning the next Operation NEON deployment of a Halifax-class frigate, with its embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter and a CP-140 Aurora detachment, for the Fall 2021 timeframe.

  • Canada's participation in this multinational initiative is a demonstration of the international solidarity in support of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.

  • As part of Operation NEON, the CAF deploys on a rotational basis a RCN Halifax-class frigate with an embarked maritime helicopter detachment, an RCAF CP-140 Aurora with crew and supporting personnel, and three CAF members embedded permanently into the Enforcement Coordination Cell (ECC) onboard USS Blue Ridge (U.S. 7th Fleet) based in Japan. 

Associated links

Contacts

Daniel Minden
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-3100
Email: daniel.minden@forces.gc.ca

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-904-3333
Email: mlo-blm@forces.gc.ca

Syrine Khoury
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Email: Syrine.Khoury@international.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
Phone: 343-203-7700
Email: media@international.gc.ca

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