Canadian warship HMCS Ottawa sails through Taiwan Strait

The HMCS Ottawa’s current deployment is consistent with past Royal Canadian Navy practice and international law, Canada’s de facto embassy in Taipei said in a statement. (AFP)
Updated 10 September 2019

Canadian warship HMCS Ottawa sails through Taiwan Strait

  • China views any passing through the strait as a breach of its sovereignty
  • But the US and many other nations see the route as international space

TAIPEI: A Canadian frigate was passing through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday, Taiwanese and Canadian authorities said, in the latest of a string of such voyages likely to provoke Beijing.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said it was closely monitoring as the Canadian warship sailed through the narrow waterway separating the island and the Chinese mainland in a “freedom of navigation” operation.
China views any passing through the strait as a breach of its sovereignty — while the US and many other nations see the route as international space.
“The HMCS Ottawa’s current deployment is consistent with past Royal Canadian Navy practice and international law,” Canada’s de facto embassy in Taipei said in a statement.
It added that sailing through the strait is “the most practical route” between South Korea’s Pyeongtaek and the Thai capital Bangkok.
Taiwan has been run as a de facto independent nation for the last seven decades but Beijing sees as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
In June, a Canadian frigate and its supporting vessel also sailed through the Taiwan Strait.
Relations between China and Canada have deteriorated since December when police in Vancouver detained Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a US arrest warrant.
Days after her arrest, China detained two Canadians — a former diplomat and a businessman — and accused them of spying in what is seen as a tit-for-tat move.
China has also blocked Canadian agricultural shipments worth billions of dollars.
Taiwan had called the June voyage a “freedom of navigation” operation, but Canada’s military said the journey was “not related to making any statement.”
Last month, a US military plane flew over the Taiwan Strait, just days after one of its navy ships sailed through the waters and the latest arms sale between Taipei and Washington.
Beijing threatened to sanction US firms involved in the sale of the fighter jets, at a time when relations are already strained by a punitive trade war.


UK’s Boris Johnson likens himself to The Incredible Hulk

Updated 15 September 2019

UK’s Boris Johnson likens himself to The Incredible Hulk

  • Johnson said he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what
  • “The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the Mail

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared himself to The Incredible Hulk in a newspaper interview emphasizing his determination to take Britain out of the European Union next month.
Johnson faces considerable legal and political hurdles but told the Mail on Sunday he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what.
“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the widely read tabloid, invoking the comic book and film character known for formidable but destructive strength.
Johnson remains defiant even though Parliament has passed a law requiring him to seek an extension to the deadline if no deal is reached by mid-October. He has also lost his working majority in Parliament and been told by Scotland’s highest court that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal.
Johnson portrays himself as more convinced than ever that Britain will break with the EU at the end of October.
He will have a lunchtime meeting in Luxembourg on Monday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to try to modify the Irish backstop that has been a main sticking point, but EU leaders did not seem impressed by Johnson’s invocation of the Hulk.
The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, said the comments showed a lack of maturity.
“Even to Trumpian standards the Hulk comparison is infantile,” he tweeted. “Is the EU supposed to be scared by this? The British public impressed?“
Juncker, who has downplayed hopes of a breakthrough at Monday’s meeting, also expressed alarm that many people in Britain seem to feel a British departure without a deal with the EU would be a positive thing.
“It would be terrible chaos,” he said in an interview with Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio. “And we would need years to put things back in order. Anyone who loves his country, and I assume that there are still patriots in Britain, would not want to wish his country such a fate.”
The Oct. 31 deadline looms large because Johnson has not said he will seek another extension if no deal is reached, despite legislation passed by Parliament shortly before it was suspended.
Britain’s Supreme Court this week will rule on whether Johnson overstepped the law when he shut the legislature for a crucial five-week period.
The Liberal Democrats, who have been enjoying a revival, voted overwhelmingly at their party conference Sunday to end the Brexit process entirely if they come to power.
Party leader Jo Swinson said Article 50, which triggered Brexit, would be revoked if she becomes prime minister.
The party gained an important member Saturday with the defection of Sam Gyimah, a former Conservative minister. He is the sixth legislator to switch allegiance and join the Liberal Democrats this year.
Johnson also continues to take flak from former Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the 2016 referendum on Brexit.
Cameron said in an interview published Sunday that Johnson didn’t really believe in Brexit when he broke ranks and led the campaign to take Britain out of the EU. Cameron had been expecting Johnson’s help during the hard-fought campaign.
Cameron says of Johnson: “The conclusion I am left with is that he risked an outcome he didn’t believe in because it would help his political career.”
Cameron is giving interviews to gain publicity for his upcoming memoirs.