Canada expresses openness to cooperate over West PH Sea

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 6) — The Canadian government has expressed openness to work together with the Philippines for a possible maritime and military cooperation in the West Philippine Sea.

In an interview with reporters on Saturday, the Canadian Minister of International Development and former defense chief Harjit Sajjan said they have expressed a number of times their support to the country regarding the disputed waters.

“The security situation is something we know extremely well in the region and that’s something Canada has been very vocal especially when it comes to sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea,” Sajjan said.

Sajjan said Canada is committed to support security partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Part of the Indo-Pacific strategy is enhancing security support within this region,” Sajjan said.

“We actually increased our presence and more importantly our consistent presence in the region,” he added.

The Department of Foreign Affairs announced last week that it is now crafting guidelines for combined maritime exercises including joint patrols with regional partners.

“GPH (Government of the Philippines) is in the process of crafting guidelines for the conduct of combined maritime activities in the WPS, including joint patrols,” the DFA said in a statement.

“Operational details, including on the possibility of engaging other regional partners, will be part of PH-US discussions,” the DFA added.

Apart from the United States, both Australia and Japan have also expressed interest in collaborating with the Philippines to hold joint patrols in the West Philippine Sea.