Milestone achieved in Korean-Canadian defence relationship

Capt(N) James Cotter, Canadian Defence Attaché, signs the guestbook at the museum.

Capt(N) James Cotter, Canadian Defence Attaché, signs the guestbook at the museum.

Capt Jenn Jackson, MARPAC PA Office ~

It has been more than 60 years since the armistice was signed bringing an end to the Korean War in 1953. In all that time, the Royal Canadian Navy has not had the opportunity to train on the Korean Peninsula with the Republic of Korea Armed Forces.

That chance finally materialized Oct. 15-23 during Clear Horizon 16, a multi-national mine countermeasures exercise hosted by the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy in Chinhae, and Busan, Korea, and surrounding coastal waters.

Clear Horizon 16 also provided an occasion for Captain (Navy) Michael Davie, Commander of Naval Force Readiness, to meet with senior ROK Navy Commanders to discuss future collaboration between the two navies.

Capt(N) Davie and Capt(N) James Cotter, the Canadian Defence Attaché to ROK, observed demonstrations of the mine counter-warfare operations that formed the basis of Clear Horizon 16. Embarked on ROKN Chunwangbong, the naval captains were able to watch demonstrations of a U.S. Aerial Mine Countermeasure mine search, ROK mine sweepers sweeping for mines, an ROK mine hunting vessel detonation, explosive ordnance disposal dive team pouncer operations, which included divers from Canada, ROK, Philippines, Thailand and the U.S., and an EOD underwater detonation conducted by ROK and Pilipino divers.

The demonstration day also included a press conference with members of all major Korean media outlets. Capt(N) Davie was able to address those gathered.

“Today’s level of globalization means any crisis in this region would be felt not only militarily, but also by the civilian population—both here in Korea and around the world,” said Capt(N) Davie.

“Canada’s goal in participating in Clear Horizon 16 is to help with the coordination of allied forces to ensure there is a capability available to counter that threat.”

Being able to effectively counter mines in the water around the Korean Peninsula is not only important to the ROK, but also to the global economy. Sea mines were effectively used during the Korean and Cold Wars, resulting in loss of ships and use of sea lanes. A blockage of sea lanes around Northeast Asia would have a devastating effect that would be felt commercially throughout the world. This threat highlights the need for like-minded nations to work together to continue to develop effective and integrated procedures for the detection and removal of mines from coastal waters.

With this historical milestone achieved during Clear Horizon 16, Canada and other nations are well positioned to continue to work together to limit the effect mines could have in Northeast Asian waters, as well as establishing a framework under which future collaborations between these nations will become smoother and more effective in responding to any international crisis in the region.

It is intended that Clear Horizon 16 will become an annual event and that future iterations will grow to involve more nations and more assets each year, increasing the coordination and capabilities of all participating nations.

Filed Under: Top Stories

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