TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Three Canadian naval ships are reportedly slated to take part in exercises in the Taiwan Strait after docking at a key Japanese naval base.
The Royal Canadian Navy vessels, including the Halifax-class frigates HMCS Ottawa and HMCS Vancouver, and the supply ship Asterix departed the west coast of Canada in mid-August and arrived at Japan's Yokosuka port on Monday (Aug. 28), reported Nikkei Asia. The ships will stay at the port, which is the headquarters for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, until Friday (Sept. 1) to replenish fuel, enable officers and crew to rest, and bolster relations with Japan.
The ships will then set off again to conduct joint exercises with naval forces from the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. The news agency reported that this would include maneuvers in the "tense Taiwan Strait," while The Japan News stated this would also include a deployment to the South China Sea.
This deployment is a phase of Canada's "Operation Projection," which will soon be upgraded to "Operation Horizon." The latter is a new operation that was announced by former Defense Minister Anita Anand at the Shangri-La Dialogue in June.
According to the report, this bolstered operation is meant to deepen cooperation with allies and partners and enable Canada to take a more active role in regional security. The number of deployed warships per year in the region will also increase from the current two to three.
The Ottawa will reportedly be tasked with patrolling the waters off Southeast Asia, while the Vancouver will focus on security in Northeast Asia. The Vancouver will also assist in observing U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.