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Canada’s Trudeau Reportedly Pitched Quad-Inspired Anti-China Bloc With Japan, South Korea & US

© AFP 2023 / DAVE CHANCanada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio hold a news conference on January 12, 2023 in Ottawa.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio hold a news conference on January 12, 2023 in Ottawa. - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.03.2023
According to media reports citing diplomatic inside sources, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently proposed a security cooperation framework with South Korea, Japan, and the United States that was inspired by the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue Washington and Tokyo have with Australia and India.
According to the reports, Trudeau pitched the idea directly to his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, when the latter visited Ottawa in January. The reports did not state if Trudeau has yet communicated the idea to South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.
However, American diplomatic sources said the White House supported Trudeau’s plan insofar as it would deepen cooperation between Tokyo and Seoul, both of which are close to Washington but which have yet to overcome the legacy of Japan’s brutal colonial rule over Korea that ended in 1945.

That said, earlier this month, South Korea announced a plan to end a decadeslong dispute with Japan over the wartime enslavement of Korean workers by the Japanese Empire. The deal includes compensation for the survivors’ families by the companies that benefited from their labor conscription. The rapprochement has quickly accelerated in the weeks since, with the two nations agreeing to restore regular diplomatic, trade, and intelligence-sharing relations.

Canada has begun to more actively position itself against China alongside the United States in recent years, beginning with its cooperation in the 2018 detention of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer for Shenzhen-based tech giant Huawei, on behalf of the US Department of Justice. Last year, a Canadian warship joined in the “freedom of navigation operations” (FONOPS) commonly performed by the United States Navy in which they flout Chinese maritime claims by sailing directly through the waters in question.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) and US President Joe Biden arrive to pose for the family photo during the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, south-west England on June 11, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.03.2023
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In November 2022, Ottawa released a new Indo-Pacific strategy report in which it characterized Beijing as an "increasingly disruptive global power."
"In areas of profound disagreement, we will challenge China, including when it engages in coercive behavior - economic or otherwise - ignores human rights obligations or undermines our national security interests and those of partners in the region," the strategy said. "We will work together with regional partners."
However, David T. Pyne, an EMP Task Force scholar and former US Department of Defense officer, told Sputnik on Thursday that “Canada, like most other NATO nations, largely follow the US lead when it comes to what positions they should take with regards to Russia and China, no matter how unwise or imprudent.”
“Canada’s armed forces are very small, with only 68,000 active-duty personnel, so they do not have the ability to serve as a meaningful player in containing Russia and China in East Asia and the Western Pacific,” he said. “They do have a modest-sized navy consisting of twelve frigates.”
Pyne noted that Canada’s aspirations to imitate the Quad would be fruitless because in his view, the Quad will ultimately be fruitless as well.
“With regards to the so-called Quad, India is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and thus is not going to ally with the US against China. I don’t believe Moscow has any desire for territorial expansion in the Far East so there is no reason we would need to contain Russia.”
A woman walks past an advertisement featuring Japanese and South Korean flags at a shop in Shin Okubo area in Tokyo Friday, Aug. 2, 2019 - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.03.2023
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“With regards to China, the US should limit its defense commitments to the defense of its Treaty allies of Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Australia, while providing strategic clarity that the US will not defend Taiwan militarily in the event of the outbreak of a Sino-Taiwanese military conflict,” he added.

In addition to the Quad, the US has also recently formed the AUKUS bloc with Australia and the United Kingdom. The goal of AUKUS is, like the Quad, “containing” China, but with an explicitly maritime focus. At its core is a deal to arm nuclear-free Australia with nuclear-powered attack submarines armed with conventional weapons; first by selling them US-made Virginia-class submarines, then mounting a joint project between Canberra and London to develop a shared class of attack subs.
Australia and the UK, like Canada and the United States, are part of the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing Anglo countries. The fifth nation, New Zealand, remains largely unaffiliated otherwise, although it has also ramped up its defense spending in recent years over an alleged "threat" posed by China.
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