In an effort to strengthen diplomatic ties, two Republic of Korea ships visited Montreal on Nov. 16 and 17. The Royal Canadian Navy was represented by Rear-Admiral Gilles Couturier, Commander Maritime Forces Pacific, along with crew members from HMCS Donnacona and the ROK was represented by Rear Admiral Kim Jong Sam.
“The Royal Canadian Navy is proud to have the opportunity to host the Republic of Korea’s Navy in Montreal. This visit offered multiple interactions between senior leaders from both navies, and I am sure it will contribute to maintaining and enhancing the relationships the Royal Canadian Navy has with the Republic of Korea’s Navy,” said Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander Royal Canadian Navy.
Both Canadian and Korean sailors spent the two days participating in various activities to highlight the relationship between the two countries. The ROK ships, destroyer ROKS Kang Gam Chan and logistical support ship ROKS DAE Chung, arrived early Monday morning.
Following their arrival, a formal ceremony to welcome the guests took place on board at 9 a.m.
Later in the day, Canadian and Korean representatives visited the Monument Aux Braves to pay respects to Korean War veterans. This visit was especially significant as 2016 marks the 60th anniversary of the return of RCN ships from Korea. During the Korean War, 26,791 Canadians served, and approximately 7,000 continued to serve in the theatre between the cease-fire and the end of 1955. The names of 516 Canadians who lost their lives in the war are inscribed in the Korea Book of Remembrance.
“We very much enjoyed the visit of ROKS Kang Gam Chan and Dae Chung to Montreal. This visit was of particular significance as it came in the 65th anniversary year of the start of the Korean War, where more than 26,000 Canadians, including thousands of sailors on board eight warships, took part in numerous combat and transport missions in support of allied efforts. Building upon our existing relationship, we continue to examine ways to increase exchanges and training opportunities between our navies to instill valuable expertise among our sailors,” said Couturier.
The evening rounded off with dinner and a cultural presentation.
The 623 Korean sailors were visiting Montreal, in part, for a training exercise for the 141 fourth year cadets on board. The visit also served to strengthen naval diplomacy between the two countries.
The exchange between the two countries is one of many examples of the partnership between the Canada and the Republic of Korea.
Historically, Canada and the Republic of Korea have entered bilateral defence agreements, such as the Mutual Logistics Support Memorandum of Understanding, which improves the logistical exchange and increased interoperability between the military forces of the two countries.
The CAF continues to participate in exercises on the Korean Peninsula including participation in the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercise series in South Korea. This exercise was designed to improve the combined and joint operational posture of South Korean and U.S. military forces.
The visit is one of many efforts on the part of the RCN to strengthen ties between allied navies in an effort to increase international peace and security.