Canada-U.S. Enhance Asia-Pacific Security Relationship

Last week Canada and the United States signed the Canada-U.S. Asia-Pacific Cooperation Framework.  The agreement, along other things, establishes an annual strategic defense dialogue on the Asia-Pacific within the context of the Canada-U.S. Permanent Joint Board on Defense. 

“The Honourable Rob Nicholson (left), P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of National Defence, and Mr. Chuck Hagel (right), United States Secretary of Defense, congratulate each other following their bilateral meeting and signing of the Canada-U.S. Asia-Pacific Defense Policy Cooperation Framework on November 22, 2013 during the 2013, Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia.” [Source: Canada Defence, Cpl Anthony Chand, Formation Imaging Services.]

[Note:  These links show the value and history of the overall Canada-U.S. security relationship and its Asia-Pacific component in particular.]

Regrettably, the agreement is not available to the public.

But Karen Parrish’s American Forces Press Service article at Defense.gov shares some aspects of the agreement:

 The United States and Canada will increase their security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, American and Canadian defense leaders announced here today.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Canadian Defense Minister Rob Nicholson signed the Canada-U.S. Asia-Pacific Cooperation Framework today as both leaders take part in the Halifax International Security Forum. The forum continues through the weekend, but Hagel will return to Washington late today.

“The United States and Canada will establish an annual strategic defense dialogue on the Asia-Pacific within the context of the Canada-U.S. Permanent Joint Board on Defense, which will meet for the 232nd time next month,” the secretary said.

Hagel added that the dialogue will help establish clear parameters for coordination of operations among the United States’ Pacific Command, Canadian Joint Operations Command, and the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.

“It will also help foster ties among our respective defense attachés in the region, as well as improve coordination for high-level visits and military-to-military activities where appropriate,” he said.

Hagel noted that an area of particular emphasis for both nations is humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Nicholson said Canada recognizes the importance of maintaining security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region to ensure its continued peaceful growth.

“Both Canada and the United States share with our Asian partners an interest in promoting stability,” [Canadian Defense Minister Rob] Nicholson said.

And Lisa Williams over at Canada National Defence’s Public Policy Affairs division shared this over email:

With respect to the Canada-U.S. defence relationship, it is always important to emphasize that the U S. is Canada’s most important ally and defence partner. Defence and security relations between our two countries are longstanding, well-developed, and highly successful.

As open societies and trading nations, both Canada and the U.S. have long recognized the importance of Asia to our own economic prosperity, as well as the dynamism of our multicultural heritage. For Canada in particular, our aggregate bilateral trade with Asia as a whole amounted to over $150 billion in 2012, while nearly half of the 250 000 immigrants we accepted in 2011 hailed from the region.

The Canada-U.S. Asia-Pacific Defense Policy Cooperation Framework is a policy initiative which will provide the basis for coordination and cooperation between our two countries, when conducting recurring, mutually reinforcing defence-related engagement activities with our Asian partners. This latest initiative in our bilateral relationship is an example of how our two countries are working closely together to use our finite defence resources in a way that makes our joint efforts more complementary, more judicious, and avoid duplication. 

The Framework will help build regional capacity, promote stronger ties between our militaries, and enable the broader Government of Canada objectives to enhance our national profile, in a region deeply intertwined with our own economic prosperity.

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