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Canadian Naval Vessel Navigates Through Taiwan Strait, Disputes China’s Ownership Assertions

A Canadian warship has successfully navigated the contested Taiwan Strait in a joint exercise with allied naval forces. This action demonstrates its commitment to protecting the international status of the waterway amidst China’s territorial claims.

The Royal Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Ottawa, transited the disputed waters alongside the USS Ralph Johnson, a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer. It is regarded as a freedom-of-navigation exercise, as reported by CBC News.
During their 17-hour crossing on Sept. 6, the ships were closely followed by Chinese warships.

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“Moving through the Taiwan Strait is to demonstrate a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Sam Patchell, the commanding officer of the Canadian warship, in an interview with CBC News. “The only way we can do that is to come here and signal it.”

HMCS Ottawa sailed through the strait following joint exercises with the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard forces and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force in August. Other Canadian frigates involved in the joint exercise, named Noble Chinook, were HMCS Vancouver and MV Asterix, according to a statement by the U.S. Navy.


The Taiwan Strait is a narrow body of water that separates mainland China from the island of Taiwan. China’s assertiveness in the region, combined with its unilateral territorial claims over Taiwan, a self-governed democracy, has attracted significant global attention.

The surrounding nations are closely monitoring the situation due to their heavy reliance on the waterway for trade. According to CBC, approximately $4.6 trillion worth of cargo, accounting for a third of all global trade, passes through the Taiwan Strait each year.

In addition to the Taiwan Strait, Beijing has also made territorial claims over the South China Sea, where the Canadian warship is presently sailing.

In July, the Chinese embassy in Canada issued a statement condemning Canada for conducting military exercises with the United States in the South China Sea and sailing military vessels through the Taiwan Strait. However, China has yet to formally respond to the recent passage of the Taiwan Strait by the Canadian and American navies.

Prior to this recent crossing, HMCS Montreal of the Royal Canadian Navy had participated in a joint military exercise in the East China Sea with the United States, Japan, and Australia. The exercise concluded on June 5.

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