Toronto: A Canadian warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday en route to the East China Sea to begin its participation in a United Nations operation, as Ottawa said it was “committed to maintaining stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”
A Department of Defense press release said this marked the beginning of HMCS Vancouver’s participation in Operation NEON, “Canada’s contribution to overseeing United Nations Security Council sanctions aimed at pressuring North Korea to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs.” “.
“As a Pacific nation, Canada is deeply committed to maintaining global stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. Today’s routine cross-strait transit demonstrates our commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific,” said Canada’s Defense Minister Anita Anand, as the Canadian Armed Forces tweeted that HMCS Vancouver was transiting the Taiwan Strait along with the American ship USS Higgins.
Since August of this year, HMCS Vancouver and HMCS Winnipeg have been deployed on Operation PROJECTION, which is “a forward-looking naval presence demonstrating Canada’s continued commitment to peace and security in the Indo-Pacific. During this deployment, the ships will participate in multiple training opportunities, exercises and bilateral engagements with foreign navies and international security partners,” the statement said.
It recently made port visits to Jakarta, Indonesia, and Manila before joining USS Higgins in the Operation NEON area of operations.
“This sail was conducted in full compliance with international law, including the rights of deep sea navigation as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” the statement added.
During this deployment, Vancouver will also participate in exercises KEEN SWORD with the US military and the Japan Self-Defense Forces, and KAEDEX with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces.
China was not mentioned in the statement, but recent Canadian Navy activity in the strait is linked to Beijing’s actions in the region.
In early August, Canada’s foreign minister, Melanie Joly, said in a Twitter post that Canada was “concerned by recent Chinese threats that risk unnecessary escalation.” There is no justification for this aggressive behavior.”
His comments came after a Canadian plane participating in Op NEON was repeatedly hit by Chinese jets earlier this year. On June 1, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) said in a press release that “on several occasions during this latest iteration of Operation NEON, interactions took place between our Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft and aircraft from the Canadian Air Force People’s Liberation Army (PLAAF).”
In its statement, the CAF said the People’s Liberation Army Air Force or PLAAF fighters “failed to comply with international aviation security standards” and that the “interactions” and were “unprofessional and/or constituted the safety” of Royal Canadian Air Force personnel “in Danger”/
In some cases, “the crew felt sufficiently endangered that they had to quickly change their own flight path to increase separation and avoid a possible collision with the intercepting aircraft,” the statement added.
Interaction between the two countries’ air forces has been the recent flashpoint in Canada-China relations, and Ottawa said, “Such interactions occurring in international airspace during UN-sanctioned missions are of concern and are becoming more common.” These incidents were also addressed through diplomatic channels.”