June 23, 2018 - No. 24
Measures Said to
Interference in Elections
Council and Facebook Team Up to Police
Elections Around the World
• Remarks of MLPC on
Bill C-76 to Commons
Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
• Changes to Electoral Law
Foreign Influence in Elections
Uphold the Rights of
• Actions to Protect Ottawa's
Indigenous Sacred Site
• Montreal Meeting Demands Status
• What to Expect at São Paulo
Forum in Havana
- Bertha Mojena Milián, Daina Caballero, Granma -
• Call to the People of
- Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva -
• The Injustice Committed Against Me Is an
Against the Brazilian People
- Exclusive Interview with Lula, Elson
Concepción Pérez, Granma -
Further Promote Peace, Security
and Prosperity on the Korean
• Relations Between the Democratic
of Korea and China Further Strengthened
• Cooperation with Russia
• DPRK Begins Repatriation of U.S. Soldiers'
• South Korean-U.S. Freedom
Guardian War Games Suspended
Amendments to the Canada Elections Act
Measures Said to Target
Foreign Interference in
The Liberal government's Bill C-76, the Elections
Modernization Act, is said to address the alleged
threat of foreign interference in the electoral process, amongst
other things. Hardly a day goes by without it being
repeated that foreign interference poses a threat to Canada's
democracy and political stability. It is usually said that Russia
and China pose such a threat and even the Democratic People's Republic
of Korea has been
mentioned. A lot of allegations have been made about Russian
intervention in the 2016 U.S. election.
There are also allegations about third parties funnelling foreign
funds into the electoral process.
When Minister of Democratic
Institutions Karina Gould
appeared as a witness before the Committee on Procedure and House
Affairs about Bill C-76, she said, "We are strengthening
our laws, closing loopholes, and bringing in robust enforcement
regimes to make it more difficult for bad actors to influence our
elections." She added, "Bill C-76 proposes changes relating
to foreign influence and online disruption that can be addressed
within the Canada Elections Act."
What does Gould mean when she says "that can be
the Canada Elections Act?" To date, no convincing
evidence has been produced to prove allegations in the U.S. about
Russian intervention in the 2016 election. Evidence shows that
during the election some individuals and organizations monetized
social-media platforms by creating sensationalist stories known
as Clickbait. They made a lot of money by lowering the level of
politics and eliminating political discourse. Recent evidence
also indicates that there was a leak about all the dirty tricks
that were being played within the Democratic Party against Bernie
Sanders by the Clinton campaign. But other than accusations and
counter-accusations and sensationalist stories, no evidence of foreign
interference has been produced in either the U.S. or Canada.
Despite this, on March 31 of this year, Foreign Affairs
Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the expulsion of four
Russian diplomats, declaring in a statement that they had been
identified "as intelligence officers or individuals who have used
their diplomatic status to undermine Canada's security or
interfere in our democracy." When Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan
was asked by CBC reporters if the expelled Russians had
interfered in the 2015 federal election, he answered that the
"statement stands on its own" and added "for national
security reasons, I can't go into details on that." He also
wouldn't answer the question as to why they weren't kicked out
earlier if they had actually interfered in the 2015 election. The
CBC resorted to interviewing Wesley Wark, a University of Ottawa
professor specializing in cyber security and intelligence, who
said, "You shouldn't read the message to indicate that the
government has evidence specifically of election meddling. On
that front it is a shot across the bows." The CBC concluded the
expulsion was "meant to send a message to the Russians that
Ottawa won't put up with influence operations."
Furthermore, the report issued by the Canadian
Security Establishment (CSE) about the cyber security threat to
elections in Canada merely reiterated the unfounded allegations
made by the FBI, CIA and NSA in the United States.
Given that the government is not providing
people with any facts as to what exactly is at stake here and
what the issues are, it is clear that it is using the threat
of foreign interference to take measures that are not really
about fighting foreign interference. We cannot draw any other
It is thus important to know what Bill C-76
in this regard.
At the Committee on Procedure and House Affairs meeting
that the Marxist-Leninist Party (MLPC) attended on June 7, another
witness was Vivian Krause, a researcher and writer. She refers
to a 36-page complaint filed with the Commissioner of Elections
by Alberta Conservative MP Michael Cooper alleging that in the
2015 election campaign, the U.S.-based Tides Foundation donated
about $700,000 to eight third parties. The complaint has never
been published and the Commissioner of Elections has not released
any details as to whether or not an investigation is underway.
Despite this, Krause told the Committee that third parties have been
agents of those who want to "land-lock the tar sands" in
When Krause was asked at the Committee meeting
precisely what was done
the 2015 election to exercise foreign influence she couldn't say.
She suggested that foreign agents operate between elections and
by the time an election comes the damage is already done. She
argued the law should go further, for example, to ban organizations
from getting foreign funds in the same way political parties and
candidates can only get contributions from Canadian citizens and
These accusations, which have not been proven, amount
corporate rivalries supporting one side or another of an issue.
And on this matter, what is the point of targeting third parties
as "funnels," given that corporations can directly intervene as
third parties? Any corporation that has operations in Canada can
participate in elections as a third party and can also
contribute "Canadian funds" to a third party. All of these
regulations on money do nothing to actually distinguish what
constitutes foreign intervention in an election which has more to
do with how the national interest is defined and who defines
In the end, Bill C-76 is going to do very little, if
anything, to prevent those who want to covertly influence
political discourse in Canada by funding promotion of, or
opposition to, a particular cause, be it pipelines or anything
else. The Chief Electoral Officer, for example, has noted that
there is nothing to prevent a foreign entity from giving money to
one Canadian entity which can then legally give it to a third
party to spend. He suggested there should be even more anti-collusion
There is definitely a chill factor with the
regulatory burden Bill C-76 imposes on third parties. The
increased regulation is said to prevent the "inter-mingling" of
foreign contributions with domestic contributions. But at the
same time, a foreign-owned corporation with operations in Canada
does not have to show where it got its money. There is nothing to
stop it from receiving a transfer from a foreign headquarter's
slush fund to promote any kind of project in Canada, especially
one that is opposed by Canadians.
The new regulatory burden
will affect those "third
parties" that have fewer funds to make their views heard. Big
be undaunted and will actually be able to spend more as third
There is a real issue here about how far the ruling
can go in banning political opinion and its expression without
coming up against the current limits of the law. Bill C-76 is related
to limiting expenditures and the sources of expenditures,
whereas the ruling circles are targeting the content of
political discourse currently protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
elsewhere -- such as in Bill C-59, An Act Respecting national
security matters, which enable the CSE to engage in
cyber security ops in the name of defending the electoral and
political process. These are secret police powers that nobody can
contest because they are conducted above the law in the name of
"national security." Already strike struggles for health and
safety in the operation of railways, community actions related to
pipelines and other issues have been declared matters that
relate to national security.
Bill C-76 claims to address a problem of foreign
in federal elections but what this problem is only the security
and intelligence agencies seem to know. Such a problem has not
been identified by the polity which has to take the word of the
security and intelligence agencies. Canadians have often been told in
cases of security certificates that the intelligence agencies
cannot show proof or discuss their work in public. This is
problematic. How can Canadians accept the proposed amendments, that are
said to deal with foreign interference in elections so
as to counter the danger this poses to the Canadian democracy,
when they have no evidence of any such danger?
If there is a problem of
foreign interference in
in the end the only defence is to empower the people but this is
precisely what the electoral act is not doing. On the contrary,
it is increasing regulations that potentially criminalize
political participation by those individuals, parties and
associations which do not have access to power and privilege and the
loopholes through which the rich and powerful promote their
interests. Only by developing their own independent politics that
contribute to the
movement for people's empowerment, can Canadians affirm their right to
lay claims on society, a right which belongs to them by virtue of
Only on this basis can Canadians make up their own
about what foreign interests and interference endangers their
quest for a stable economy, political independence, a healthy
natural and social environment and peace. In the absence of this,
the recommendations to defend elections from foreign interference
do not appear to respond to pertinent situations, requirements,
or past or present experience. Real measures are being taken
elsewhere and they target the right of Canadians to associate
and act in a manner which they deem beneficial to themselves and
their society. Whether during an election or between elections,
Canadians come up against the argument of endangering the
national interest. What comprises the national interest and who
decides is thus a serious concern.
Atlantic Council and Facebook Team Up to Police
Around the World
The Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab
(DFRLab) has announced a partnership with Facebook to defend "election
integrity" all over the globe. The joint program will "identify,
expose, and explain disinformation during elections around the
world as part of a broader initiative to provide independent and
credible research about the role of social media in elections, as
well as democracy more generally." The aim of DFRLab is
to "continually track disinformation campaigns, fake news stories,
covert military developments, and subversive attempts against
democracy while teaching the public skills to identify and expose
attempts to pollute the information space." Even though it is
teaming up with Facebook, the DFRLab says it will continue to
"cast an independent and critical eye on all platforms, including
Facebook itself." In this regard, it notes that Facebook already
has a dedicated monitoring team expected to reach 20,000 by the
end of 2018.
The May 17 announcement by
DFRLab states that public debate is at
heart of democracy, and that debate requires information as its
foundation. It continues, "Too often in recent years, we have
witnessed attacks on this foundation: the deliberate spreading of
false information, hostile state actors promoting divisive
content, and attacks on fact-based reporting and evidence-based
research." It says that "bad actors or
aggressive minorities can abuse connections for power, profit, or
DFRLab elaborates its mission: "to expose and explain
falsehood online and to identify its source and amplifiers." It
reports that it is "looking at everything from conflict in Syria,
to protests in Russia, to politically motivated automation and
bots in Malaysia." It says it will provide "a range of
information that we can either prove or disprove and let our
audience draw their own conclusions." It emphasizes the parsing of
"examples of disinformation into component pieces and explaining
the overall challenge because terms like 'fake news' and 'botnets' feel
pervasive and more daunting than it has to
On June 22-23, the DFRLab convened a Symposium
in Berlin entitled
"360/OS Welcome to the Digital Engagement Age." It was described
as the launch of a project to "harness the power of open source,
social media, and digital forensic research." DFRLab says the tools
they are creating will "identify the once-unidentifiable and
discern the previously indiscernible" to "create and cultivate
techniques needed to expose falsehoods and fake news, document
human rights abuses, and report the actuality of global events in
real time." Guest speakers were described as "policymakers,
business and media leaders, journalists, and civil society
activists at the helm of the battle against disinformation,
deception, and propaganda."
Former U.S. Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright gave a keynote speech on the topic
"Democracy Hijacked." The Symposium also featured a "Freedom
Awards Dinner" honouring Albright. Chris Krebs, Under Secretary
for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security, spoke on the topic "For
and By the People: A View from the Government," along with Janis
Sarts, Director, NATO StratCom Center of Excellence. Speakers
from the corporate sector included Facebook's Global Politics and
Government Outreach Director Katie Harbath and Microsoft's
Director for Cybersecurity Policy Jan Neutze.
The money is flowing from NATO and the monopoly
sector to fund these kinds of activities that are creating a
network of NATO-led policing of political information on the internet
through an alliance of corporate, state security
apparatuses and NGOs.
Remarks of MLPC on Bill C-76 to Commons
Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
Party of Canada (MLPC) was invited to appear
as a witness before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House
Affairs on June 6, 2018. The MLPC was given five minutes to
explain its views on the 352 pages of amendments contained in
Bill C-76, the Elections Modernization Act. MLPC National Leader Anna Di Carlo
limited herself to
introductory remarks on two aspects of Bill C-76. The text of the
* * *
Esteemed Members of the Committee;
Bill C-76 stands as a missed opportunity to uphold
principles and contribute to alleviating the perception that
party governments do not have the consent of the governed. The
refusal to address this problem will not stand anyone in good
stead, neither the political parties that think they may benefit
nor the polity as a whole. Bill C-76 does nothing to address the
problem of the way elections are conducted. The electoral process
and election results do not inspire confidence that a mandate has
been provided, supported by the people.
Two problems are the
violations of the right to an
vote and the need to have equality of all those who come forward
to be elected. Both are linked. The unequal treatment of
candidates resulting from the privileges accorded to so-called
major parties violates Canadians' right to an informed vote.
Privileged forces decide what the people should hear and why,
which is truly self-serving and anti-democratic.
Since the seventies, political equality has been
the existence of an even playing field for all parties and
candidates. They must all equally meet the same eligibility
criteria, respect spending limits, etc.
But this is meaningless when the electoral law accords
privileges to some because only the so-called major parties are
considered contenders to form governments. Only they deserve to
be heard and all others are dismissed as fringe or incidental.
Those with power give themselves a privileged role and the
electoral law is skewed in their favour. This is not democratic!
The only ones who do not see the self-serving nature of these
arrangements are those who enact and apply laws to serve
themselves. Canadians see it for what it is: a violation of
fundamental democratic principles exacerbating the crisis of
credibility and legitimacy of the electoral law.
Public funding for parties and candidates was
partly in the name of moderating inequalities. Since the law has
been and continues to be informed by the aim of giving rise to a
party government, the funding regime has been continually
reformed to favour the so-called major parties and not to uphold
the right to an informed vote and the need to have equality of
all those who come forward to be elected.
Bill C-76 maintains this framework. An opportunity to
this problem arose by accepting the recommendation of the Chief
Electoral Officer regarding the privilege-based broadcasting
allocation formula. For 17 years, Elections Canada has
recommended that a public resource of free broadcasting time be
increased and allocated equally to all registered political
parties. Each time, the recommendation has been rejected. For the
next election in 2019, it means the majority of public
broadcasting time will once again go to parties in the House of
Commons, with the ruling Liberal Party receiving the lion's
share. Since free broadcasting is not considered an expense or
contribution in kind counted towards spending limits, the
allocation regime is another indication of how meaningless the
spending limits are in real life.
In regards to Canadians'
right to privacy, we stand
Privacy Commissioner and others who call for the parties to be
subject to the privacy laws, with the objective of ensuring the
privacy of electors is not violated.
However, great irony arises in the calls for the
law to require party attestations to respect the privacy of
electors when the law itself violates privacy. In 2006, the
Conservative Party was in the vanguard of micro-targeting with
its Constituent Information Management Systems (CIMS). The
governing party introduced unique identifiers for all electors
and bingo cards. It wanted the unique identifier to make data
integration and the micro-targeting and surveillance of electors
easier. By introducing bingo cards, it turned Elections Canada
workers into substitutes for party scrutineers who used to
monitor the polls to see who had voted. All the parties in the
House supported these measures.
Now, as a matter of course, unique voter identifiers
handed over to political parties without the prior consent of
voters. This is just wrong. An affirmative process is needed
where electors give prior consent. They must have the option to
have their unique identification numbers removed from the list of
electors when given to political parties. In addition, it should
be their choice to divulge information as to whether or not they
voted, that is, to be listed or not on bingo cards.
As it stands, an elector can remove themself by
and reregistering in the next election. But even this is to no
avail because when the elector reregisters at the polls, they
receive the same unique identifier as before -- the specific
tracking identifier remains forever.
Two points are key. The first is that unique
not required for purposes of maintaining the integrity of the
permanent list of electors. Secondly, and more importantly,
tracking electors and building profiles about them does nothing
to raise the level of political discourse within the polity. It
does not enhance the involvement of electors in the political
process. The purpose is purely to facilitate the collection of
information about electors and target them for the use of the big
firms hired to run campaigns. The information is used to nudge
electors to vote for the particular party the firm serves or
against a rival party or not to vote at all. Nothing politicizing
exists with all this. To say tracking electors and building
profiles about them enhances democracy or the democratic process
just adds to people's feeling that the entire process is
self-serving and out of their control.
The privacy debate has focused on the developments in
surveillance and micro-targeting by firms specialized in the
field of data analytics -- such as the infamous Cambridge
Analytica to mention only one. Clouded by this focus is how
micro-targeting impacts the process, particularly how it relates
negatively to political parties fulfilling their purported duties
as "primary political organizations" for the polity, to involve
electors in discussion and debate about the problems facing
society and deciding the agenda and policies the society
In addition, through
sleight of hand, the huge
in software and data based technology are not considered an
election expense. This absence is yet another mockery of the
premise that election spending limits contribute to an even
playing field and equality.
In our opinion, the developments warrant a full public
inquiry. Certainly modern technology should be used in elections
in the 21st century but its use should not violate democratic
principles. The time has come to have public deliberations on all
the fundamental premises of the electoral process: how mandates
are arrived at; how candidates are selected; the use of public
funds so that all candidates, regardless of whether they are a
member of one or another political party, or no political party at
all, stand as equals. We say fund the process not the parties.
Use public funds to inform electors of all candidates and end the
privileged position of so-called major parties.
I am available to deal with the aspects I have raised
others as concerns the electoral act with which I am very
familiar. I have been involved with it since the Spicer
Commission in 1991 and the MLPC has been at the receiving end of
all its unfair and anti-democratic measures since 1972, the first
year our Party participated in elections. We are well versed in
the flaws of the electoral law and what Canadians think of it in
Changes to Electoral Law Pertaining to
The current Canada Elections Act (CEA) already
contains several provisions which are said to address the
potential of foreign interference in a federal election. There is
a general provision, Section 331, titled "Non-interference by
Foreigners," with a subhead "Prohibition -- inducements by
non-residents." It states that "No person who does not reside in
Canada shall, during an election period, in any way induce
electors to vote or refrain from voting or vote or refrain from
voting for a particular candidate unless the person is (a) a
Canadian citizen; or (b) a permanent resident within the meaning
of subsection 2(1) of the Immigration
and Refugee Protection
Act." The current CEA does not define the term "induce."
This provision recognizes the legitimacy of electoral
activities by individuals who have a stake in Canada by virtue of
citizenship or by virtue of living in the country and prohibits
activity by those who do not. It recognizes the right of all people who
are citizens, permanent
residents, or residents in Canada to participate. Within this,
only citizens are entitled to elect and to be elected, while only
citizens and permanent residents can make contributions to
political parties and candidates.
The CEA does not define what it means for a person to
"reside in Canada," unlike its reference to "permanent
resident," which is a specific, legally conferred status. The Immigration and Refugee
Protection Act refers to "foreign
nationals" who are conferred "temporary resident status" through
work permits, student visa, and extended visitor's permits.
Bill C-76, the Elections
section 331 of the CEA and replaces it with one titled Undue
Influence by Foreigners. The new section details the persons
and entities captured by the term "foreign" and what activities
comprise "undue influence." It also amends other provisions that
relate to "foreign third parties" and Canadian third parties,
that is any person or organization other than a registered
political party or a candidate.
Undue Influence by Foreigners
Bill C-76 defines a "foreigner" as follows:
- an individual
who is not a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or a
resident of Canada;
- "a corporation or entity
formed or otherwise organized outside Canada that does not carry
on business in Canada or whose only activity carried on in Canada
during an election period consists of doing anything to influence
electors during that period to vote or refrain from voting, or to
vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate or
registered party, at the election;"
- a trade union that does not
hold bargaining rights for employees in Canada;
- a foreign
political party; or
- a foreign government or an
mandatary of a foreign government.
To commit a crime of "undue influence" any of these
or entities must "knowingly:"
- incur any expense to
directly promote or oppose a candidate
in that election, a registered party, or the leader of a registered
- make or publish a
prohibited false statement
about any of these entities; or
- do anything to influence an
to not vote or to vote in a certain way that involves breaking
any law enacted by the federal or provincial governments, or
The time frame for commission of an offence of "undue
influence" is simply "in that election."
The definition of "promoting or opposing" includes:
registered party or eligible party, identifying it through other
means such as a logo, or providing a link to an internet page
that either names the party or shows its logo; in the case of
individuals standing as potential candidates, candidates,
nomination contestants, or leaders, it means naming, showing a
photograph, cartoon or drawing of him or her, and/or identifying
the person by name or by logo affiliation, or providing a link to
an internet page that does any of this.
False statements prohibited by Bill C-76 are: "(a) a
statement that a candidate, a prospective candidate, the leader
of a political party or a public figure associated with a
political party has committed an offence under an Act of
Parliament or a regulation made under such an Act -- or under an
Act of the legislature of a province or a regulation made under
such an Act -- or has been charged with or is under investigation
for such an offence; or (b) a false statement about the
citizenship, place of birth, education, professional
qualifications or membership in a group or association of a
candidate, a prospective candidate, the leader of a political
party or a public figure associated with a political party."
These provisions apply not only to foreigners, but to all persons
Bill C-76 will also make it illegal for any person or
"to sell any advertising space ... for purposes of enabling [a
foreign entity as defined in the law] to unduly influence
Exemptions to Undue Influence
Bill C-76 exempts certain activities from the crime of
influence by foreigners." It says there is no prohibition "if the
only thing done by the person or entity to influence the elector
to vote or refrain from voting ... consists of (a) an expression
of their opinion about the outcome or desired outcome of the
election; (b) a statement by them that encourages the elector to
vote or refrain from voting for any candidate or registered party
in the election; or (c) the transmission to the public through
broadcasting, or through electronic or print media, of an
editorial, a debate, a speech, an interview, a column, a letter,
a commentary or news, regardless of the expense incurred in doing
It is precisely through these means that the United
Canada and other countries interfere in the internal affairs of
countries such as Venezuela to achieve "regime change." The aim
of these exemptions is thus not clear, except inasmuch as they
pertain to the domain that comes under print, digital and broadcast
and are thus presumably protected by the Charter of Rights and
Foreign Third Parties
The current CEA prohibits "foreign third parties" from
spending more than $500 for election advertising during the
official election campaign period. Bill C-76 bans any spending by
them for election advertising, election surveys, or partisan
activity both during the pre-writ period (June 30 to the start of
the election campaign) and the election campaign. The legislation
does not regulate activities outside of this period.
"Foreign third parties" are comprised of the same
and entities listed under the section on "undue influence by
foreigners," with the exception of foreign political parties and
Canadian Third Parties Caught in Proposed
Currently, the CEA requires any person, corporation,
union or group to register if they spend more than $500 on
election advertising during an election campaign period. They are
not allowed to use any foreign funds for electoral advertising
and they must file a report listing all contributions they
received for the purpose of election advertising starting from
six months before the election. Final reports are due six months
after the election. The reports must list the name and
address of anyone who contributed more than $200 for election
For third parties, Bill C-76 defines foreign funds as
contributions from the same list of persons and entities defined
as "foreigners" under the section Undue Influence by
Foreigners, with one exception. Funds received from
residents of Canada who are not citizens or permanent residents
are not allowed to be used, even though the law entitles a
resident to register as a third party.
Bill C-76 expands the regulation of activities by third
parties to include expenditures not only for election
advertising, but also door-to-door canvassing and phone calls.
Expenses for election surveys are also included. An "election
survey" is defined as "a survey respecting whether persons intend
to vote at an election or who they voted for or will vote for at
an election or respecting an issue with which a registered party
or candidate is associated." As it pertains specifically to third
parties, Bill C-76 adds that it is one "whose results [the third
party] takes into account (a) in deciding whether or not to
organize and carry out partisan activities or to transmit
partisan advertising messages or election advertising messages;
or (b) in their organization and carrying out of those activities
of their transmission of those messages."
During the pre-writ period, "issue advertising," that
advertising that promotes or opposes an issue with which a
political party or candidate may be associated, is exempt so long
as it does not tell people how to vote.
Spending during the pre-writ period is set at close to
million for third parties, compared to $1.5 million for political
parties, but in the case of political parties election surveys
are not treated as an expense. During the campaign period, third
parties will be allowed to spend approximately $500,000.
The reporting requirements for third parties have been
significantly increased. They must file not only post-election
reports with Elections Canada, but interim reports as well, the
first one being due five days after they register, in which they
detail both the election-related activities they have carried out
and contributions received to pay for them going back to polling
day of the previous election.
Provisions Related to "Fake News" and "Cyber Attacks"
Two components of the alleged threat of foreign
commonly referred to as "fake news" and "cyber attacks." Bill
C-76 amends the sections of the CEA that pertain to offences
involving misleading the public and unauthorized use of
computers. It introduces a section titled "Misleading publications." It
says it is an offence to publish, transmit or
distribute material that purports to be made by a political
party, candidate or prospective candidate "with the intent of
misleading the public." An exemption is provided for materials
"manifestly ... for the purpose of parody or satire."
Under a section titled "Unauthorized use of computer,"
C-76 makes it an offence for anyone to use computers
"fraudulently, and with the intention of affecting the results of
an election." This lengthy list includes tampering with a
computer system by destroying computer data, rendering data
ineffective, or doing anything to obstruct "the lawful use of
computer data or deny access to a person or entity ... entitled
to access to it," and trafficking in, or permitting access to a
Broadcasting from Outside Canada
In addition, there
is a provision in the CEA prohibiting the use of a broadcasting
station outside of Canada. It states: "No person shall, with
intent to influence persons to vote or refrain from voting or
vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate at an
election, use, aid, abet, counsel or procure the use of a
broadcasting station outside Canada, during an election period,
for the broadcasting of any matter having reference to an
election." It also specifically prohibits the use of a
broadcasting station outside of Canada for election advertising.
Bill C-76 creates an exemption in cases where the signal
originates in Canada.
Uphold the Rights of All!
Actions to Protect Ottawa's Indigenous Sacred Site
On June 22, a march took place through the streets of
Ottawa at the call of Algonquin elders. A leaflet called on the people
of Ottawa of all faiths to join with Indigenous faith leaders on
a peaceful walk to demand the return and restoration of the
ancient sacred site Akikodjiwan/Ainabka (the Chaudière Falls)
islands to the Anishinabe/Algonquin people.
More than 300 people
gathered near the falls on
Island, and walked up Wellington Street to Parliament Hill to
voice their opposition to the plans of the National Capital
Commission and the City of Ottawa to help finance the private
corporation, Windmill Development Group, to build a massive
condo project which they call Zibi. The project is advertised as a
Class sustainable waterfront community in downtown Ottawa and
Gatineau that provides condo and town home living with natural
The Indigenous elders say that the government and
are ignoring Indigenous rights to the island and water and are
demanding that Akikodjiwan, be
returned to its original purpose as a meeting place of peace.
They point out that Article 12 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples clearly states: "Indigenous peoples have
the right to maintain, protect and have access in privacy to their
religious and cultural sites."
On Parliament Hill, Albert
Alqonquin elder, poet, traditional teacher and one of the organizers,
spoke about the
importance of the Algonquins' request to defend their sacred site
and return it to their care on behalf of all nations.
Mr. Dumont pointed out that Indigenous peoples are
fighting against oppression, to regain their languages, and for a
share of the riches being removed from their
territories each and every day, so that impoverished communities
can grow an economy and build schools. "But it is the struggle to
revive our ancient spirituality which is of greatest concern for
me and many, many more Algonquins and their supporters. Our
spirituality was our way of life! Is it too much to ask to have
it there once again for those of us who respect and honour
it?" he asked.
Among the other speakers was Douglas Cardinal, a
renowned architect planner, activist, philosopher, artist, and
Anishinabe elder. Amongst the many projects Cardinal designed is the
Museum of History in Gatineau. He was recently the Presenter of
the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. He spoke of the
important role of women in fighting for Indigenous rights
and providing communities with the strength they need to
defend their dignity.
This was the third annual "Spirituality Is Unity Walk"
Akikodjiwan and the organizers pledge that the fight
will be carried on until the Indigenous people have the right to
decide what happens on their lands.
Montreal Meeting Demands Status for All
On June 16, a press conference was organized
by Solidarity Across Borders in Montreal's Park
Extension area to bring to the fore the plight of migrants in
Canada. This was followed by a march to demand status for all. Since
2004, the group and
its allies have organized an annual march demanding a
comprehensive, ongoing, regularization program for all migrants in
Canada without full status and an end to deportations.
At the press conference, Solidarity Across Borders
representative Claire Abraham refuted the claim that the Canadian
and Quebec governments do not have the means to provide proper
care for migrants crossing into Canada from the U.S. She decried the
lie that migrants are to blame for the lack of
services available to the rest of the population. She said that it is
the anti-social offensive that has been unleashed against the
population that is to blame, with cuts to health care, education,
programs and the list goes on.
The first to speak at the press conference was
Mexican woman who came to Canada in 2009. She fled her home
country to escape domestic violence and has been living here
without legal status since 2013, as a result of poor advice
provided to her by a lawyer. She has been living in
fear, concerned that if she tries to legalize her situation she
will face deportation. She raised some of the difficulties facing
people without status. For example, although she
works 13 hours per week, she is only paid $6 per hour.
She is provided no labour protection, nor does she have access to
health care, even though she suffers from a number of
health-related issues, because she fears arrest and
Margarita recalled that in February 2017 Montreal
became a Sanctuary City. She says that this has not improved the lives
of migrants here in any
The next to speak was Carmelo Monge, from Mexicans
Regularization. He spoke of the psychological and emotional
shock and trauma that migrants suffer as a result of arrest and living
in detention centres. He noted the
psychological harm this causes in particular to women and children. He
the recent arrest of Lucy Francineth Granados in Montreal, who
fled Guatemala to the U.S., making her way to Canada in 2009. Her
application for asylum was refused by Canada and she was ordered
deported. She defied that deportation order. In 2017, she filed
an application for permanent residence on humanitarian and
compassionate grounds, which has not yet been heard. Nonetheless, on
March 20, after living in Montreal for nine years, four Canadian Border
Service Agents forced their
way into her home and proceeded to violently arrest her. She was thrown
onto a table and then the ground, her arm twisted while
an agent held her down with a knee pressed into her back. She was taken
to the Laval Detention Centre, detained there until April 13, and then
deported to Guatemala.
Serge Bouchereau, spokesperson for the Comité
des personnes sans statut, explained that his organization was
established after the Harper government lifted the moratorium on
deportations to Haiti and Zimbabwe. Through
the work of the committee and other like-minded
organizations, Bouchereau said that many were finally able to
remain in Canada. Last year, as the committee prepared to
disband, a great number of migrants began arriving from the U.S.,
which forced the committee to expand its mandate. He questioned
why it was that the two levels of government in Canada have not been
take measures to welcome migrants, as part of Canada's commitment
to the Geneva Convention, following Trump's decision to suspend
the temporary protected status of nationals from a number of
countries. Bouchereau recalled how Justin Trudeau claimed
they would be received with open arms. "To those fleeing
persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you,
regardless of your faith," the Prime Minister said. However,
Bouchereau's organization, part of Solidarity Across Borders, had to
go to the border and denounce the military camp set
up there, where people were not even provided such basic necessities as
a shower while being vetted by the RCMP.
At 2:00 pm, hundreds of people participated in the
lively march through the streets of Park Extension,
alerting the people to the grave situation facing migrants and
calling upon them to join the struggle in defence of their
The fight for the recognition of the rights of all is
ongoing. Only through the involvement of the people will the
rights of all be provided with a guarantee.
It Can Be Done!
What to Expect at São Paulo Forum in Havana
Twenty-five years after the
Fourth Meeting of the
São Paulo Forum in Havana, Cuba is once again hosting this space
for the left forces of the region to coordinate politically, to discuss
and establish guidelines for the struggles that unite us.
This was confirmed at a press conference by Idalmis Brooks
Beltrán, an official of the Department of International
Relations of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of
Cuba, which attends the São Paulo Forum.
What is the São Paulo Forum?
It is a forum
composed of more than a hundred Latin American and Caribbean
left parties and groups, founded in Brazil in 1990 to discuss
and join forces for the common good, based on the challenges that were
imposed on the left with the collapse of the socialist camp and
by the consequences of neo-liberalism in the countries of Latin
America and the Caribbean.
Cuban leader Fidel Castro and former Brazilian
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva played a decisive role in its
Granma: How many
meetings have been held?
IBB: There have
been 23 meetings, two of which were held in
Havana (in 1993 and 2001). The Cuban capital also hosted
meetings of the São Paulo Forum Working Group in 1994, 1997,
2000, 2006 and
Granma: Why this
IBB: The 23rd
São Paulo Forum in
Managua, Nicaragua, in July 2017, concluded with a popular
action celebrating the 38th anniversary of the Sandinista
Revolution. There, then first vice-president of Cuba, Miguel
Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, affirmed the commitment of our
country to the unity and integration of the region. At that time, it
was announced that Cuba was prepared to host the 24th meeting of the
A political convocation was sent to Forum members on
May 23, by Commander José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera,
member of the Secretariat and head of the Department of
International Relations of the Communist Party of Cuba. In it he
reiterated that for Cuba, hosting the Forum constitutes an
internationalist political commitment to forces that make up the Forum
and those who share the conviction that it is time
to unite ideas and efforts to stop the current
counterrevolutionary offensive of the international and regional
right against all the political projects
that have brought forward changes these last years in favour of a more
sovereign, integrated and just Latin America and Caribbean.
23rd São Paulo Forum, Managua, Nicaragua, July 17, 2017.
Granma: What will
between July 15 and July 17?
IBB: Although the
delegates and guests will start
arriving in the country some days before, this 24th meeting of the
Forum will take place in the Convention Centre July 15 to 17.
After its inauguration there will be important
plenaries devoted to discussion of the struggle against colonialism and
for anti-imperialist solidarity, and the need for Latin American and
Caribbean unity and integration. There will also be a special plenary
on the thought of Commandante Fidel Castro and its relation to the
São Paulo Forum.
There will also be meetings for women, young people
parliamentarians, and two workshops -- closely linked -- on Art and
Culture and Political Communication and Media.
As is traditional, the Political Training
School of the São Paulo Forum; meetings of its regional
secretariats and its
Working Group; and a Regional Meeting of the World Federation of
Democratic Youth (FMJD) will also take place.
Granma: What is being added on this
IBB: In addition to
meetings and workshops, the 3rd Meeting between the Party of the
European Left and the São Paulo Forum will be held. In this
space, both forces will talk about the different realities and
ways to build and achieve consensus on different issues that
unite us and that affect humanity today.
For the first time in this type of meeting there will
be dialogue between the São Paulo Forum and platforms and
of the social and popular movement of the region. This is an
to exchange ideas on the current political situation in Latin
America and the Caribbean and draw up strategies that favour the
coordination and unity in action of the left of the
Granma: What is
from the meeting in Havana?
IBB: Cuba hopes
that the Latin American and Caribbean
left will be able to discuss the urgent situation in the region
today, similar to when the São Paulo Forum was created.
Therefore, it is necessary to redirect our struggles from the
unity and integration of political forces and social movements, to
finalizing a plan of action developed together, achievable and
measurable in time, that will be included in the Final Declaration of
Granma: What does
mean for Cuba?
IBB: This meeting
again offers Cuba the opportunity to be a
space where the main issues of the continent are discussed and
analyzed, and for a reunion with friends and leaders of the Latin
American and Caribbean left who will be present in the plenary
sessions and different spaces that have been organized. And, above
all, it is a chance for our young people to get to know first hand the
important role that the Island plays in the struggles of the
Granma: How can one
learn about what will happen at the 24th São Paulo Forum?
IBB: The activities
taking place during the forum will be widely covered by the national
press. You can keep up to date by consulting the official page of the
Forum here, as well as its
social media accounts. Granma
will be providing uninterrupted
coverage of this event on its online site, in its printed version,
and in its social media profiles.
Call to the People of Brazil
Lula speaks at rally as Lula for President tour concludes in
March 28, 2018.
For two months now, I have been unjustly incarcerated
without having committed any crime. For two months I have been
unable to travel the country I love, bringing the message of hope
of a better and more just Brazil, with opportunities for all, as
I always did during 45 years of public life.
I am deprived of my daily life with my sons and my
my grandsons and granddaughters, my great-granddaughter, my
friends and comrades. But I have no doubt that they have put me
here to prevent me from being with my larger family: the
Brazilian people. This is what distresses me the most, because I
know that outside, every day, more and more families are back to
living in the streets, abandoned by the State that should protect
From where I am, I want to
renew the message of faith
Brazil and in our people. Together, we have been able to overcome
difficult times, serious economic, political and social crises.
Together, under my government, we overcame hunger, unemployment,
recession, the enormous pressures of international capital and
its representatives in the country. Together, we reduced the
age-old disease of social inequality that marked Brazil's
formation: Indigenous genocide, the enslavement of blacks and the
exploitation of the workers of the city and the countryside.
We fought injustice tirelessly. With our heads held
have come to be considered the most optimistic people in the
world. We have deepened our democracy and we have gained
international prominence with the creation of UNASUR, CELAC,
BRICS and our relationship of solidarity with African countries.
Our voice was heard in the G8 and in the most important world
I am sure we can rebuild this country and dream, once
like a great nation. That's what keeps me fighting.
I will not settle for the suffering of the poorest and
punishment that is falling on our working class, just as I will
not settle for my situation.
Those who accused me in Lava Jato [Operation Car Wash]
know that they lied
because I never owned, never had possession of, nor spent one
night in the Guarujá apartment. Those who condemned me,
Moro and the TRF-4 [Federal Regional Court of the 4th Region] judges,
know that they set up a judicial farce
to arrest me because I was able to prove my innocence in the case
and they were not able to present proof of the crime they
accuse me of.
To this day I ask myself: where is the proof?
I was not treated by the prosecutors of Lava Jato, Moro
TRF-4 as a citizen equal to everyone else. I have always been
treated as an enemy.
I do not cultivate hatred or hold any grudge, but I
executioners can sleep with a clear conscience.
Against all injustices, I have the constitutional right
appeal out of jail, but this right has been denied to me so far,
for the sole reason that my name is Luiz Inácio Lula da
That is why I consider myself a political prisoner in
When it became clear that they were going to take me in
force, without crime or evidence, I decided to stay in Brazil and
face my jailers. I know my place in history and I know the
place reserved for those who persecute me today. I am sure that justice
will make truth prevail.
In the caravans around Brazil I recently took part in I
hope in people's eyes. And I also saw the anguish of those
who are suffering the return of hunger and unemployment,
malnourishment, school dropouts, workers robbed of rights
and the destruction of the constitutionally guaranteed policies of
inclusion, that are now denied in practice.
It is to end the suffering of the people that I am
running for President.
I take on this mission because I have a great
responsibility to Brazil and because Brazilians have the right to vote
for a project of greater solidarity, a more just and sovereign
country, and persevering in the project of Latin American
I am a candidate because I sincerely believe that the
Electoral Court will be coherent with its judicial precedents
going back to 2002 and not bow to the blackmail of exception, just
to deny my right and the right of voters to choose who represents
I ran many times during my career, but this race is
different: it is my life's commitment. Those who had the
privilege of seeing Brazil advance on behalf of the poorest,
after centuries of exclusion and abandonment, cannot sit idle
during the most difficult time for our people.
I know that my candidacy represents hope, and we will
to the final outcome, because we have the strength of the
people at our side.
We have the right to dream again, after the nightmare
was imposed on us by the 2016 coup.
They lied to overthrow the legitimately elected
Dilma Rousseff. They lied saying that the country would improve
if the Workers' Party was ousted from government, that there
would be more jobs and more development. They lied to impose the
program that was defeated at the polls in 2014. They lied to
destroy the project of eradicating extreme poverty that we put
in place under my government. They lied to give away the nation's
wealth and to favour the economic and financial powers, in a
scandalous betrayal of the people's will manifested clearly and
unequivocally in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.
The hour of truth is coming.
I want to be president of Brazil once again because I
already proved that it is possible to build a better Brazil for
our people. We proved that the country can grow for the benefit
of all when the government places the workers and the poorest at
the centre of the concerns, and does not become a slave to the
interests of the rich and powerful. And we proved that only the
inclusion of millions of poor people can make the economy grow
We govern for the people and not for the market. It is
opposite of what the government of our opponents is doing, at the
service of financiers and multinationals, that abolished the
historic rights of workers, reduced real wages, cut off
investments in health and education, and is destroying programs
like Bolsa Familia, Minha Casa Minha Vida, Pronaf, Luz Para
Todos, Prouni, and FIES, some of the many programs aimed at social
I dream of being president of Brazil to end the
those who do not have money anymore to buy gas, who now have to
use wood for cooking or, even worse, alcohol and become
victims of serious accidents and burns. This is one of the
cruellest setbacks caused by the policy of the destruction of
Petrobras and our national sovereignty, led by PSDB [Brazilian
Social Democracy Party] supporters who backed the 2016 coup.
Petrobras was not created to generate gains for Wall
speculators in New York, but to ensure oil self-sufficiency in
Brazil at prices compatible with the popular economy. Petrobras
must be Brazilian again. You can be certain that we are going to
end this tale of selling off its assets. It will no longer be
hostage to the oil multinationals. It will once again play a
strategic role in the country's development, including in
directing the pre-salt resources to education, our passport to
You can also be sure that we will prevent the
of Eletrobras, Banco do Brasil and Caixa and the emptying of the
BNDES [Brazilian Development Bank] and of all the tools available
to the country to promote development and social welfare.
I dream of being president of a country where the
pays more attention to the Constitution and less to the newspaper
headlines; where rule of law is the rule, without exceptional
I dream of a country where democracy prevails over
discretion, the monopoly media, prejudice and
I dream of being the president of a country where
has rights and nobody has privileges; a country where everyone
can have three meals a day again; where children can attend
school, where everyone has the right to work for dignified wages
and with the protection of the law; a country in which every
rural worker once again has access to land to produce, with
financing and technical assistance; a country where people will once
again have confidence
present and hope for the future.
And which for this very reason
is once again respected internationally, that once again promotes
Latin American integration and cooperation with Africa, and
exercises a sovereign position in international dialogues on
trade and the environment, for peace and friendship among
We know the way to carry out these dreams. Today it is
through the holding of free and democratic elections, with the
participation of all political forces, with no rules of exception
to block a certain candidate.
Only then will we have a government with the legitimacy
face great challenges that can dialogue with all sectors of the
nation backed up by the popular vote. It is this mission that I
am taking on by accepting my nomination as the presidential
candidate of the Workers' Party.
We have demonstrated already that it is possible to
government of national reconciliation, so Brazil takes the path
of bringing Brazilians together, especially the poorest and the
My government was one where the poor were included in
budget of the Union, with more income distribution and less
hunger; with more health and less child mortality; with more
respect and affirmation of the rights of women, of blacks and of
diversity, and with less violence; with more education at all
levels and fewer children out of school; with more access to
universities and technical education and fewer young people
excluded from the future; with more popular housing and fewer
occupancy conflicts in the cities; with more settlements and land
distribution and fewer conflicts over occupations in the
countryside; with more respect for the Indigenous peoples and Quilombolas,
better wages and guarantees for the rights of workers, with
more dialogue with unions, social movements and business
organizations and less social conflicts.
It was a time of peace and prosperity, as we have never
before in history.
I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that Brazil can
happy again. And it can advance much more than we already
achieved together, when the government was of the people.
In order to achieve this goal, we must unite the
forces of all Brazil, respecting the autonomy of the parties and
movements, but always having as reference a national project
based on more solidarity and being more just, which will rescue
the dignity and hope of our suffering people. I am sure we will
be together at the end of that path.
From where I am, with the solidarity and energy that
from all corners of Brazil and the world, I can assure you that I
will continue working to transform our dreams into reality. And
so I am preparing, with faith in God and a lot of confidence, for
the day when I will be reunited with the beloved Brazilian
Only if my life is taken will this reunion not come to
See you soon, my people.
Long Live Brazil! Long Live Democracy!
Long Live the
Luiz Inácio Lula da
Curitiba, June 8, 2018
1. A name referring to African
Brazilians whose ancestors escaped from slavery mainly from areas
of the Caribbean, some having become emancipated through slave
rebellions. They established communities known as Quilombos in
remote areas of Brazil. In
areas of the Americas these former slaves and their descendants
were known as Maroons.
The Injustice Committed Against Me Is an Injustice
Against the Brazilian People
May Day 2018 march in Curitiba, Brazil.
The workers' leader, the man
who during his term as
President of Brazil pushed for laws and social plans that allowed
some 30 million Brazilians to be lifted out of poverty, whom all
the polls indicate is the favourite, by a large majority, to win
the presidential elections of 2018, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,
responded to questions from Granma,
For obvious reasons, a
personal and more wide-ranging
interview with this journalist could not be conducted. However,
the fact that Lula took some of his time while imprisoned to
answer our questions makes this interview particularly
significant, not only for Cuban readers, but for all those around the
Granma: As a candidate for the
Presidency of Brazil,
greatest popular support and all polls indicating you are the
favourite to win, how would you describe the persecution and
imprisonment to which you have been subjected?
Lula: It's a
The case against me fails to point to a crime, nor is there any
evidence. They had to disrespect the Constitution to arrest me.
What is becoming increasingly clear to Brazilian society and the
world is that they want to take me out of the 2018 elections. The
coup in 2016, with the removal of an elected president, indicates
that they don't accept that the people vote for whoever they want to
Granma: For many leaders imprisoned
their people, prison has served as a place for reflection and the
organization of ideas to continue the struggle. In your case, how
are you dealing with these first days, since you are prevented
from being in contact with the people?
I'm reading and thinking a lot. It's a moment of
reflection about Brazil and especially everything that has
happened in recent times. I am at peace with my conscience and I
doubt that all those who lied against me sleep as peacefully as I
Of course I would like to be free and doing what I have
all my life: dialoguing with the people. But I am aware that the
injustice that is being committed against me is also an injustice
against the Brazilian people.
Granma: How important is it for you to
Brazilian states there are thousands of compatriots in favour of
The relationship that I have built over decades with
Brazilian people, with social movement organizations, is a very
trusting relationship and it is something that I greatly
appreciate, because in my entire political career I always
insisted on never betraying that trust. And I would not betray
that trust for any money, for an apartment, for nothing. That was
the case before being president, during my presidency and
afterwards. So, for me, that solidarity is something that moves
me and encourages me to stand fast.
Granma: How would you define the
concept of democracy
by the oligarchy to exclude leaders of the left and ensure they
don't come to power?
Latin America has experienced its strongest moment of
democracy and social gains in the last decades. But recently the
elites of the region are trying to impose a model where the
democratic process is only valid when they win, which, of course,
is not democracy. So it is an attempt at democracy without the
people. When it doesn't turn out the way they want, they change
the rules of the game to benefit the vision of a small minority.
That is very serious. And we are not only seeing it in Latin
America, but throughout the world, an increase in intolerance and
political persecution. It has happened in Brazil, Argentina,
Ecuador and other countries.
Granma: What message do you send to all
those who, in
and around the world, are showing solidarity with you and
demanding your immediate release?
I really appreciate all the
solidarity. It is
necessary to be in solidarity with the Brazilian people.
Unemployment is rising, more than a million families have
returned to cooking with firewood because of the increase in the
price of cooking gas, millions who had left poverty behind are
once again facing the situation of having nothing to eat, and
even the middle class has lost jobs and income.
Brazil was on a path of decades of democratic progress,
political participation, and together with this, social advances,
which accelerated with the governments of the PT (Worker's
Party), which won four elections in a row.
They have not only dealt the PT a blow. They didn't
just to malign Lula. They did so against a model of national
development and social inclusion. The coup was to do away with
the rights of workers and retirees, gained over the last 60
years. And the people are realizing that. And we are going to
need a lot of organization to return to a popular government in
Brazil, with sovereignty, social inclusion and economic
The same friend who
kindly sent us the answers to
interview, also passed on two special messages: "I take this
opportunity to thank compañeros Raúl Castro and Miguel
for their greetings and solidarity, which were transmitted to me
by Frei Betto."
Initiatives that Further Promote Peace,
Security and Prosperity on the Korean Peninsula
Relations Between the Democratic People's Republic of
and China Further Strengthened
DPRK leader Kim Jong Un is welcomed by Chinese President Xi Jinping at
the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, June 19, 2018.
Kim Jong Un, leader of the Democratic People's Republic
(DPRK), made his third visit to China this year, from June
19 to 20.
The visit began with a
grand welcome ceremony by Chinese President Xi Jinping for Kim Jong Un
at the Great Hall of the
People that included an honour guard of the People's Liberation
Army, Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Central
Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, reported. This was
followed by a meeting in which the two leaders had a candid and
in-depth exchange of views on the current development of
China-DPRK relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula,
and a banquet.
"We will cooperate closely together in 'one staff
with our Chinese comrades on the journey of defending socialism
and ushering in a new future on the Korean Peninsula and in the
region," Rodong Sinmun quoted Kim as saying during the
banquet. In response, Xi said that Kim's visit to China had
"showed the whole world the invincibility of the relationship
between the two countries and parties of China and north
Kim expressed his "gratitude for the enthusiastic and
support and outstanding assistance" given by China in regard to
the DPRK-U.S. summit, Rodong Sinmun reported, while Xi
said that he "actively supports the north Koreans' position and
resolution to achieve denuclearization on the Korean
Xi reiterated China's positive assessment of the
DPRK-U.S. Summit and was quoted as saying, "China will continue to play
a constructive role in the future as well." Also present at Kim and
Xi's meeting from the DPRK side were Kim Yong Chol and Ri Su Yong, both
vice chairmen of the Workers' Party of Korea, and Foreign Minister Ri
Yong Ho, who were also present at the meetings in March and May.
Present from the Chinese side were Wang Huning, member of the Standing
Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC)
Central Committee and member of the CPC Central Committee Secretariat;
Ding Xuexiang, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central
Committee, member of the CPC Central Committee Secretariat and director
of the CPC Central Committee General Office; Yang Jiechi, member of the
Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the
Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee;
Wang Yi, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Song Tao,
head of the International Liaison Department of the CPC Central
Chairman Kim and President Xi meet on June 20, 2018.
On June 20, the two leaders met at the Diaoyutai State
Guesthouse in Beijing where they had another in-depth
conversation. Noting that Kim has paid three visits to China to meet
with him within 100 days, Xi said the two sides have
jointly created a new history of China-DPRK high-level
"We are pleased to see that the important consensus
by China and the DPRK is gradually being implemented, the
friendly cooperative relations between the two sides are
radiating new vitality, the momentum for dialogue and easing of
the situation on the Korean Peninsula has been effectively
strengthened, and the Workers' Party of Korea's new strategic
route has pushed the DPRK's socialist cause into a new journey,"
Xi said he believes that under the joint efforts of
sides, China-DPRK relations will certainly benefit the two
countries and the two peoples. With the joint efforts of China, the
DPRK and related parties, the Korean Peninsula and Northeast
Asia will surely embrace the bright prospects of peace,
stability, development and prosperity, said Xi.
Xi also spoke about the recent experience of the
Party of China in advancing China's nation-building
project. He said that China is willing to share its experience
with the DPRK, and strengthen unity and cooperation to jointly
create a better future for the socialist cause of the two
Kim said the two countries are as close as family, and
each other, adding that Xi has offered friendly care and support
for the DPRK people. "The current visit to China has served as an
opportunity to deepen the friendship between comrade General Secretary
and I, and advance DPRK-China ties," Kim said.
He pledged to work with Chinese comrades to upgrade
ties to a new high, and play their due roles in safeguarding
world and regional peace and stability.
Kim expressed his confidence that the Communist Party
of China, under the
leadership of its Central Committee and Xi would achieve its
objectives for China.
Significance of Developments in DPRK-China Relations
South Korean newspaper the Hankyoreh remarked
emphasis that Chairman Kim and President Xi placed on
DPRK-China relations. This was the first mention of the concepts
of "one staff department" by Kim and "invincibility" by Xi during
the course of their three summits, the Hankyoreh wrote.
Such remarks imply that the DPRK and China are on the same side
and are together in all respects, it says. Indeed, the Hankyoreh
adds that Kim's statements about DPRK-China
relations have grown bolder over time, from "strengthening
strategic and tactical collaboration" during his first visit in
March, to "moving forward while firmly clasping the hands of our
friendly Chinese comrades" during his second visit in May, to
"one staff department" in his most recent visit. Xi's remarks
about the relationship have changed, too, from "unique in the
world" in March, to "a community of destiny, an unchanging
relationship of lips and teeth" in May, to "invincibility" on
this visit, the Hankyoreh concludes.
Cooperation with Russia
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Russian President Vladimir Putin
shake hands after an agreement for a south Korea-Russia free trade
zone, June 22, 2018.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in began a state visit
Russia on June 21. During the visit, President Moon met with
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and addressed the Russian State
Duma (lower house of parliament) on June 21 and held a summit
with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 22. This was Moon's
first visit to Russia as president and the first state visit by a
south Korean president since 1999.
South Korea-Russia Summit
Direct high level talks between south Korea and Russia
the main objective of President Moon's trip.
The emphasis of the talks was on economic cooperation,
on the expectation that the denuclearization of the Korean
Peninsula will succeed and that sanctions against the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will be lifted, leading to
increased economic cooperation. The two leaders expressed the
position that the denuclearization and establishment of peace on
the Korean Peninsula will ultimately be in both their countries'
"The trilateral economic cooperation between south and
Korea and Russia is meant to create a positive feedback loop
between a Korean Peninsula peace regime and economic
cooperation," explained a key south Korean presidential official. The Hankyoreh
explains that the south Korean
predicts that closer economic connections with Russia could avoid
the possibility of "New Cold War" antagonisms with south Korea,
the U.S., and Japan on one side and the DPRK, China and Russia on the
other, given the fraught U.S. relations with China.
In a joint press statement, the two leaders "agreed to
strengthen communication and cooperation so that the Korean
Peninsula and Eurasia can prosper together" and said that they
"plan to diligently implement projects that south Korea and
Russia can prioritize to prepare for trilateral cooperation [with
In their summit that day, the two leaders also agreed
cooperate on a railroad project involving the shared use of the
Rajin-Hasan railway to build a Eurasian network linking south
Korea with Russia and Europe, while researching and cooperating
on a linkage of the Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR) and a
Trans-Korean Railway (TKR). While the "Rajin-Hasan project" has
been halted due to south Korea's sanctions against the DPRK, it
is seen as an effort that could potentially help south and north
Korea, China, and Russia -- by functioning not only as an area of south
Korea-Russia cooperation but as a distribution base for
China's northeast, the Hankyoreh reports.
Once linked, the TSR and TKR could also serve as routes
international transportation linking Europe and Asia. Analysts
predict south Korea and Russia's agreement on June 22 could
lend momentum toward an inter-Korean agreement on linking the
Donghae Bukbu railway, the Hankyoreh notes.
Presidents Moon and Putin also agreed to initiate
procedures for negotiations toward a bilateral service-investment
free trade agreement. President Moon proposed "reaching the
priority targets of U.S.$30 billion in trade and one million
people in human exchanges by the 30th anniversary of bilateral
relations in 2020 for the sake of shared prosperity in the
The two leaders also agreed to develop an action plan
advance economic cooperation in priority areas including the
"nine bridges" proposed by President Moon (natural gas, railways,
seaport infrastructure, electricity, Arctic shipping routes,
shipbuilding, job creation, agriculture and fisheries) in
The south Korea-Russia Summit moves into an expanded format, June 22,
Following the talks, Presidents Moon and Putin signed a
agreement on the free trade zone. The Russian Ministry of
Economic Development expects this agreement to encourage mutual
trade in services, promote Russia's transit possibilities for the
transportation of Korean companies' commodities, attract Korean
investments and technologies in the energy sector, transport,
shipbuilding and the fishing industry, TASS reports.
A memorandum of understanding was also signed between
Russia's Ministry of Economic Development and south Korea's
Ministry of Science and Information and Communication
Technologies signed on the establishment of a Russia-south Korea
Another memorandum of understanding, on the
a Russian-south Korean inter-regional cooperation forum, was
signed between the Russian Ministry for the Development of the
Far East and the south Korean Foreign Ministry.
A total of 19 memoranda of understanding were signed at
summit on areas that include railways, health care, and science and
Address to Russian State Duma
President Moon gave a
20-minute speech to the plenary
session of the Russian State Duma on June 21, becoming the first
president of south Korea to do so.
"A major change is taking place on the Korean
Moon said referring to the deepening inter-Korean relations.
"Now, the south, north and U.S. are putting the dark period of
war and hostility behind them and heading toward an era of peace
and cooperation," he added. The president also expressed his
appreciation for Russia's contributions, "The active
support and cooperation of the Russian government and people has
become a huge force behind this amazing transformation."
Moon also said, "Cooperative relations between
Korea and Russia will become the cornerstone of the Korean
Peninsula's peace regime and prosperity in Northeast Asia."
President Moon also spoke of the need for a trilateral economic
network of south and north Korea and Russia.
"I hope that I would be able to make you understand
Korea's intention to go along with Russia," Moon Jae-in said. "I
am sure that our friendship will open doors to new opportunities
in Eurasia," he added.
He went on to explain areas of cooperation between the
Koreas and Russia including rail transport, referring to the
Siberian railway as a path "that connects the East and the West
in the middle of Eurasia. It is the very gateway that opens an
era of Eurasia."
President Moon concluded his speech by expressing hope
this concept of Eurasia. "There lies a new hope for humanity in
Eurasia where nature and people coexist. Russia and Korea will
walk together toward an era of peace and prosperity, moving
beyond an era of war."
Russian parliamentarians applauded repeatedly during
President Moon's speech, including three standing ovations.
Prior to this visit to Russia, President Moon on June
gave an exclusive interview to TASS First Deputy Director-General
Mikhail Gusman for government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta
and the Rossiya-24 TV channel. In it he gave an overview of
recent developments on the Korean Peninsula, including the summit
between the DPRK and the U.S., and prospects for deepening
relations with Russia.
President Moon stressed the need to expand an
peace regime into a "multilateral peace and security cooperation
regime for Northeast Asia as a whole" in the intermediate and
"Russian President Vladimir Putin and I have the same
terms of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
and establishment of a peace regime," President Moon said to
"Once a Korean Peninsula peace regime has been
that will mark the opening of an era of full-scale inter-Korean
economic cooperation, and that inter-Korean cooperation will need
to be trilateral cooperation with Russia also participating," he
"In terms of representative projects where trilateral
cooperation could start quickly, I could first mention the three
areas of railways, natural gas, and electricity," President Moon said.
These proposals for cooperation measures were
subsequently raised in Moon's speech to the Duma as well as in
discussions with President Putin.
"In the case of railways, linking south and north Korea
railways and connecting them to Russia's Siberian railway could
allow distribution and travel via rail from south Korea to
Europe," he continued, adding that this scenario would "bring
large economic gains to north Korea and tremendous profits to
south Korea and Russia as well."
President Moon went on to say Russian natural gas "can
supplied to north and south Korea, and even to Japan via undersea
"Electricity produced in Russia could be supplied to
and south Korea, and even to Japan," he continued, predicting
this would "be a way of really promoting shared prosperity for
the Eurasian continent going ahead."
President Moon also addressed the "nine bridges" of
Korea-Russia economic cooperation strategy he mentioned in
Vladivostok last September.
"What we will need to do in the future is to quickly
and implement specific action plans for each of the nine bridges," he
said, which he and President Putin later agreed to do.
"There has been a great deal of progress in action plan
discussions by the south Korea-Russia joint economic committee,
and I anticipate the two sides will be able to sign something at
the Eastern Economic Forum [in Russia] this September," he
According to the south Korean president, thanks to
economic cooperation, bilateral trade grew by 40 per cent in 2017
compared to the previous year, reaching $19 billion. "I believe
that it is only the beginning," Moon stated.
President Moon also gave a very positive assessment of
DPRK-U.S. summit. "The results of the [DPRK-U.S.] summit turned
out to be impressive," he said to TASS. "The north Korean-U.S.
standoff has lasted for 70 years. Now it's time for those two
nations to renounce hostility. A new historic moment, when we can
establish the system of solid peace in the region, opens before
us," he said, adding that the results of the summit have
surpassed all expectations.
According to Moon, the DPRK and the U.S. should now
immediately fulfill the agreements reached at the summit. "Now
talks are underway at a working level between the south and the
north, between south Korea and the United States, and measures on
implementing these agreements are being drawn up. After the
summit the north said it was ready for full denuclearization, and
the U.S. confirmed its readiness to provide security guarantees
for Pyongyang," he noted.
"The north and the south stopped broadcasting
the border, south Korea and the U.S. temporarily put off joint
military drills, and now a peace process is underway. Such
peaceful steps may lay the foundation to further bolster dialogue
between the parties concerned," the President stressed.
"I call all the parties concerned to implement these
as soon as possible. North Korea should take certain steps, and
the U.S. should provide comprehensive security guarantees," he
In particular, President Moon noted that north Korea
pledged not to conduct further nuclear or missile testing, shut
down its Punggye Village nuclear test site, and promised to
dismantle its missile engine testing site, while south Korea and
the U.S. had made the decision to postpone their large-scale
joint military drills.
"I think that north Korea now needs to present a more
concrete denuclearization plan, while the U.S. needs to swiftly
present and jointly implement comprehensive corresponding
measures," he said.
"I also believe north Korea's return of remains of U.S.
troops missing from the Korean War will happen shortly," he
President Moon went on to say that Kim Jong Un "showed
commitment to willingly abandon nuclear [capabilities] and
channel his energies toward economic development if they can
receive guarantees on their system in exchange for abandoning
nukes, along with a clear commitment to join the south on the
path to peace and prosperity."
"Chairman Kim and I also agreed on the need for
economic cooperation to lead to trilateral cooperation with
Russia," he added.
DPRK Begins Repatriation of U.S. Soldiers' Remains
U.S. President Donald Trump said, at a rally in Duluth,
Minnesota on June 20, that the remains of 200 U.S. soldiers
killed in the Korean War had already been repatriated to the U.S.
This is one of the agreements reached during the summit between
the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)
Kim Jong Un and President Trump.
Citing an American official, the Wall Street Journal
reported on June 20 that north Korea would be handing over the
remains of more than 250 American soldiers within a couple of
days. After a memorial service at Osan Air Base in Gyeonggi
Province presided over by Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S.
Forces Korea, the newspaper said the soldiers' remains would be
sent to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii for the job of
identifying them. Trump's remarks and this report suggest that
the DPRK would hand over the remains as early as June 21 or
22, in U.S. time.
Prior efforts to recover and repatriate remains stalled
negotiations between the DPRK and the U.S. broke down. The Hankyoreh
explains, "Between 1996 and 2005, for
example, a joint team of excavators from north Korea and the U.S.
recovered the remains of more than 200 American soldiers in the
north. But when north Korea-U.S. relations soured under U.S.
President George Bush [who infamously named the DPRK as part
of an "axis of evil" -- TML Ed. Note], the work was halted
because of concerns about the safety of the American excavation
team deployed to the north and because of the money that was
flowing into north Korea. The last remains to be repatriated were
of six soldiers handed over to Bill Richardson, then governor of
New Mexico, in 2007. During a meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, in
Oct. 2011, the two countries agreed to resume the search for
remains, but this agreement was not carried out after north
Korea launched a satellite in April 2012."
The remains of six soldiers are handed over to Bill Richardson, then
governor of New Mexico, at the U.S. military’s Yongsan Garrison in
The remains being repatriated are reported to have been
located by the DPRK on its own over the past few years, but it is
expected that joint efforts for this work will resume in the near
The Hankyoreh writes, "Once the excavation
gets underway, the expected political result is a considerable
lessening of tensions between north Korea and the U.S. If dozens
of American soldiers and experts are operating on the ground in north
Korea, it is expected to open a channel of dialogue, albeit
a minor one, between the U.S. army and the north Korean People's
Army (KPA). For the duration of the excavation efforts, an
American communication officer will remain in Pyongyang and make
reports to the U.S. military authorities every day."
South Korean-U.S. Freedom Guardian
War Games Suspended
In a June 22 statement released by Pentagon
spokesperson Dana White, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has
indefinitely suspended select exercises, including "Freedom Guardian
along with two Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises
scheduled to occur in the next three months." This suspension was made
to "support implementing the outcomes of the Singapore Summit, and in
coordination with our Republic of Korea ally," read the statement. It
added that "in support of upcoming diplomatic negotiations led by
Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo, additional decisions will depend upon
the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)] continuing to have
productive negotiations in good faith."
The south Korean and U.S.
military authorities had already announced on
June 19 that this year's Freedom Guardian joint war games scheduled
for August would not be held. It is one of several war games
held each year around the Korean Peninsula for purposes of
threatening the DPRK,
despite the U.S. describing them as regular defensive drills. The
decision is a working-level follow-up measure to U.S. President
Donald Trump's promise following the June 12 DPRK-U.S. summit. A
statement from the south Korean Ministry of National Defence also
said that it was "set to continue discussions with the U.S. on
additional measures," adding that a "decision has not yet been
made on other subsequent exercises." The Pentagon released a
similar statement the same day.
In a June 19 press briefing, south Korean Ministry of
spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo called Freedom Guardian's suspension a
"measure to contribute to continuing the peaceful climate in
north Korea-U.S. and inter-Korean dialogue." She added, "We
anticipate there will be corresponding action taken by the north
This is the third time exercises have been suspended
and the first time in 26 years. The Ministry of National Defence noted
that joint south
Korea-U.S. military exercises were suspended twice, in 1990 and 1992.
In 1990, the Ulchi Focus Lens exercise --
the precursor of the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian -- was skipped due to
the holding of high-level inter-Korean talks and the U.S.
involvement in the Gulf War. In 1992, south Korea and the U.S.
suspended their Team Spirit exercise when north Korea agreed to
allow nuclear inspections by the International Atomic Energy
Other large-scale south Korea-U.S. war games include
Resolve and Foal Eagle, held annually in February and March
respectively. The Hankyoreh writes, "Freedom Guardian and
Key Resolve are scenario-based command post exercises, while Foal
Eagle is a field training exercise involving actual troops and
equipment. North Korea has voiced extreme displeasure with all
three. As such, they are seen as likely to come under focus if
the north Korea-U.S. denuclearization talks proceed smoothly and
an expansion of the suspension is discussed."
"If you take into account not just the large exercises
training involving the entire Korean Peninsula but also the ones
carried out by individual armed forces and at different echelons,
joint south Korea-U.S. exercises number in the hundreds," a
Ministry of National Defence senior official said.
"We're planning to submit all of them to review as we
out what to do," the official added.
In the past, the Freedom Guardian exercise has been
jointly with the government-level Ulchi war games. Whether the
Ulchi exercise will also be halted, the south Korean government
on June 19 maintained that "We're leaving it open."
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