Canada to send more warships through Taiwan Strait in signal to China

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Canada plans to sail more warships through the Taiwan Strait to affirm the waters claimed by China are international after Ottawa released an Indo-Pacific strategy that described Beijing as an “increasingly disruptive” power.

“We need to make sure that the question of the Taiwan Strait is clear and that it remains an international strait,” Canadian foreign minister Mélanie Joly said in an interview. “We will continue to enforce the international rules-based order when it comes to the Taiwan Strait.

And that’s why also we had a frigate going through the Taiwan Strait this summer, along with the Americans, [and] we’re looking to have more frigates going through it.” Chinese officials earlier this year told their US counterparts that China did not recognize the strait as international waters.

Speaking from Bucharest where she was attending a Nato foreign minister meeting, Joly said Canada was “committing to new military assets” in the Indo-Pacific to help ensure peace and stability in the region.

She was speaking just after Canada released its first strategy for the region which called for a “once-in-a-generation shift”.

The Nato ministers in Bucharest held a wide-ranging discussion on China, as the US urges the transatlantic security alliance to pay more attention to the ramifications of possible Chinese military action against Taiwan.

Joly said Canada was investing C$400mn (US $297mn) in military support for the Indo-Pacific. The foreign minister said Ottawa would increase the number of frigates deployed in the region by one ship to three warships. And in addition to sending more Canadian diplomats to the area, she said Canada would post more military attaches across the Indo-Pacific.

Joly was speaking just after the Pentagon released an annual report on the Chinese military, which projected that China would have 1,500 nuclear warheads by the middle of the next decade, up from roughly 400 weapons now. Asked how concerned Canada was about China’s rapid nuclear expansion, she said it was “taking note definitely”.

Agencies

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