Canadian Navy ships sail through the Taiwan Strait . . .
The Canadian Government confirmed that the frigate HMCS Regina and supply ship MV Asterix sailed through international waters in the Taiwan Strait on June 19 on their way to Japan. There, the two vessels will be deployed inOperation Neon, Canada’s contribution to a multilateral effort to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed on North Korea. The sail by didn’t go unnoticed by China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory and insists military transits through the strait receive its authorization.
Sending a message? . . .
Taiwan’s Military Agency claimed Canada conducted a freedom of navigation operation, while Canada’s Department of National Defence said the transits weren’t politically motivated and that the route was simply the shortest between Vietnam, where the vessels were stationed, and their destination in the East China Sea. As of today, the naval action has only generated a mild statement from China. It is not the first time Canadian warships have sailed through the strait. But interestingly, this time the ships activated their automatic identification systems during the passage, making their movements noticeable to the general public. According to military experts, this tactic is often used to highlight the international nature of the Taiwan Strait.
Raising our profile, strengthening our partnerships . . .
Whatever the real motive behind the Canadian naval ships’ transit through the contested waters, Canada’s move will contribute to appeasing those who have been arguing for a tougher stance on China. The move will also raise the profile of Canada’s participation in Operation Neon, a UN-sanctioned multilateral initiative in the Asian region. As military transits through the Taiwan Strait have been increasing in recent months, with the U.S. and France recently sending military ships through the strait, a targeted response by Beijing against Ottawa appears unlikely. But the move will certainly please the U.S., with whom Canada just announced a strengthening of their partnership.
- The Globe and Mail: Canadian warship sails through Taiwan Strait
- Radio-Canada International: Une frégate canadienne navigue dans les eaux du détroit de Taïwan
- Taipei Times: Rare Canadian navy vessel transit confirmed