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Canada hopes to sign a defense MOU with Pakistan by June.

On the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in June, the Canadian government hopes to conclude and sign a defense cooperation agreement with Manila, the Canadian Embassy in Manila announced on Wednesday.

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The memorandum of understanding will act as a framework to strengthen defense relations that have deteriorated due to disagreements during the previous administration, according to a senior embassy official who presented Ottawa’s new Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) during a briefing in Makati under the condition of anonymity.

Conflicts between the two nations on matters like human rights, etc. have prevented possibilities to develop a strong defense relationship, he said.

We are currently discussing a new opportunity since both parties believe it has huge potential and value.

The official stated that in the absence of a visiting forces agreement or a status of visiting forces agreement akin to those that Manila has with the US or Australia, Canada is seeking for ways to boost its involvement in exercises.

The MOU would involve more security collaborations, potential military drills, training, and capacity building, among other things, once it was approved.

According to the source, Canada is prepared to assess the Philippines’ interest in a variety of training programs in accordance with the IPS, which values the country as a crucial partner in the region.

“We’re ready to assess and investigate that. And resources were being allocated so that we might accomplish more in this region of the world, he continued.

Beyond defense, Canada anticipates growing maritime cooperation with the nation.

A marine dialogue has lately been proposed by Manila, which the official believes is appropriate given the IPS’s debut in November 2022.

The method, according to the official, is under investigation and would be “wide-ranging” to cover environmental safeguards, the prevention of oil spills, marine security, and fishing stock management.

“Better presence”

Through the 2.3 billion Canadian dollar IPS, Canada intends to strengthen its influence in the region, focusing on both economic and peace and security activities.

The official stated in the aforementioned briefing that Canada would also collaborate with allies to oppose any unilateral moves that pose a danger to the status quo in the East and South China Seas, including the Taiwan Strait.

Over the huge and resource-rich South China Sea, Beijing, Manila, and other surrounding countries all have conflicting claims.

The official emphasized that Canada would oppose the emerging power “when we ought to” and collaborate with them when they needed to and that its approach to China would be “inseparable” from its larger IPS.

“China wants to change the global order so that it is more accepting of interests and values that diverge from our own. The official added that every country in the region, including Canada, is having to adjust its strategy in light of China’s growing influence on the world stage.

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