A Canadian Navy ship sailed through the Taiwan strait on Tuesday alongside a U.S. destroyer as Western nations attempt to enforce sanctions against North Korea.
Recently, tensions between China, Taiwan and the West have escalated following U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s diplomatic visit to Taiwan and U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent pledge to defend the island nation.
In a nationally televised interview on 60 Minutes, Biden enforced America’s strategic ambiguity if China were to invade Taiwan, saying that the U.S. military would defend Taiwan if China launched an attack against the island.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was immediately followed by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) firing missiles and dispatching several military aircraft and warships in Taiwan’s vicinity.
The Canadian ship’s journey through the Taiwan strait is part of a routine operation to enforce United Nations sanctions against North Korea.
Canada’s defence minister Anita Anand reassured Canadians that the mission’s completion is necessary to uphold peace in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Today’s routine Taiwan Strait transit demonstrates our commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific,” she said in a statement.
The PLA’s Eastern Theatre Command raised militant concerns with the mission, proclaiming that Chinese units were placed on high alert and actively monitoring the Canadian and American units.
“Theater forces are always on high alert, resolutely counter all threats and provocations, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” reads the PLA’s statement.
Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan was followed by a diplomatic trip from a group of U.S. Congressmen, a trip that provoked the PLA to conduct another series of hostile military drills.
Canada’s foreign affairs minister Melanie Joly signed a joint statement with G7 foreign affairs ministers condemning China’s increased hostility and calling on the regime to de-escalate tensions.
“We are concerned by recent and announced threatening actions by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), particularly live-fire exercises and economic coercion, which risk unnecessary escalation. There is no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait.”
Canada’s relationship markedly declined in 2018 when the Chinese Communist Party illegally persecuted two Canadians in retaliation to Canada’s arrest and attempted extradition of Chinese corporate executive Meng Wanzhou.
In June, Royal Canadian Air Force planes conducting sanctions enforcement against North Korea in the Taiwan strait were also harassed by PLA warplanes.
The PLA jets allegedly buzzed the Canadian CP-140 Aurora, flying dangerously close to the units so as to force the Canadian plane to change its flight path to avoid a collision.
The CP-140 Aurora will join the mission again, supporting the Canadian HMCS Vancouver frigate.