The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has deployed its Halifax-class frigate HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331) in support of Operation (Op) Neon.

It was confirmed by the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) on 20 September.

HMCS Vancouver is currently on its way to reach the Op NEON’s area of operation.

As part of this, the frigate along with the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit. It demonstrated commitment in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand said: “As a Pacific nation, Canada is deeply committed to upholding global stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Today’s routine Taiwan Strait transit demonstrates our commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.”

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US 7th Fleet, in a statement, added: “The ships transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State.

“Cooperation like this represents the centrepiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region.”

The deployment under Op Neon is Canada’s contribution to support the multilateral initiative that seeks to ensure the implementation of UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions on North Korea.

Imposed between 2006 and 2017, the sanctions aim to force North Korea to give up its weapons of mass destruction programmes.

This is the seventh time the RCN has deployed its assets to support the Op NEON, which started in 2018.

The mission involves deployed vessel and aircraft to track suspected maritime sanction evasion activities that are banned by UNSC resolutions, including ship-to-ship transfer of fuel and commodities.

During this deployment, the warship will carry out a series of exercises with the US and Japan.

It includes KEEN SWORD and Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force’s (JMSDF) KAEDEX.

Aboard the Halifax-class vessel, a CH-148 Cyclone helicopter has also been deployed for this mission. It will enhance the monitoring capabilities of Vancouver.

Besides, a Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft, is slated to join the assets next month under Op Neon.

The CP-140 and its deployed crew will operate out of Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan.