After implementing an Indo-Pacific strategy that called China an “increasingly disruptive” power, Canada planned to send more warships through the Taiwan Strait—an international waters area claimed by Beijing.
NATO ministers recently held a wide-ranging discussion on China in Bucharest. The meeting occurred as the U.S. urged NATO to think about the potential scenarios wherein China started an invasion of Taiwan. Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly also attended the meeting.
Talking with Financial Times, she said that Canada has to “do more to play a role in the security of the region.”
She added that Canada would invest in deterrence to help respect international norms.
The Canadian Foreign Minister mentioned the Taiwan Strait: “We need to make sure that the question of the Taiwan Strait is clear and that it remains an international strait.”
Earlier this year, Chinese officials told the U.S. that the strait was not part of international waters.
In the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said that Canada was “committing to new military assets” in the Indo-Pacific to promote peace and stability.
Her commitment came after Canada issued its first regional policy under a so-called “once-in-a-generation shift.”
It also came after the Pentagon released its annual report on China’s military. The report predicts that China will have 1,500 nuclear warheads by the middle of the decade, up from 400 at the current level.
In the NATO meeting, the Foreign Minister said that Ottawa would play a more significant role in defense in the Indo-Pacific. She said Canada would send a frigate through the Taiwan Strait this summer, along with the Americans. More frigates are going through it.
The Foreign Minister said the country would invest almost $221 million (CA$300 million) of military support for the Indo-Pacific. In addition, the foreign minister said three frigates from Ottawa would be sent to the area, compared to one before. She also said that Canada would send more military attachés and diplomats to the region.
She also said that Canada would put more money into the Five Eyes intelligence network.
She added that Canada wanted to get closer to Japan and South Korea as places to sell energy or invite them to become investors in Canada’s minerals. Her comments came a few weeks after Ottawa told three Chinese groups to sell their shares in Canadian mineral companies due to national security concerns.