(OTTAWA) Amid heightened geopolitical tensions and a series of cyberattacks, the first milestone in a military intelligence-sharing pact between Canada and South Korea will be laid in Seoul. The Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, will announce as part of her visit to Asia the start of talks towards an agreement along these lines.

About six months after taking the same step in Japan, the head of Canadian diplomacy will do it again, this time with South Korea – gestures that are part of its Indo-Pacific strategy. Accompanied by her opposite number, Park Jin, Ms. Joly will kick off negotiations to conclude an information security pact.

“This type of agreement increases the level of cooperation in defense matters in addition to giving Canadian companies access to the information necessary to respond to certain calls for tenders in foreign countries”, explained to La Presse a government source who requested anonymity, not being authorized to speak about this announcement publicly.

It also means that the Canadian government would have “the tools to advance security cooperation” between the two nations, which is paramount “as global security and international rules face daunting challenges,” added this same source.

In addition to being part of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, along with the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Canada has information-sharing agreements with allies in the NATO. If it materializes, the one with South Korea would be added to it.

It would also strengthen the footprint that Ottawa wishes to have in the region.

Last week, in fact, a Royal Canadian Air Force C-140 Aurora aircraft was deployed to Japan to support the implementation of sanctions against the other Korea, North Korea. The device must detect circumvention of maritime sanctions.

After her visit to South Korea, Minister Joly will head to Japan for the meeting of G7 foreign ministers, which promises to be busy. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is expected to be a major talking point amid fears of a spring offensive from Moscow.

South Korea is Canada’s seventh-largest trading partner, seventh-largest merchandise export market and sixth-largest source of merchandise imports, according to the Canadian government.