Chinese Fighter Jets Buzz Canadian Planes, Putting Personnel at Risk, Says Canada’s Defence Department

A Canadian military plane was dangerously harassed by Chinese fighter jets during a recent mission in international airspace, the Department of National Defence (DND) said on June 1.The Royal Canadian Airforce’s CP-140 Aurora Maritime Patrol Aircraft was deployed to Japan and flew sorties between April 26 and May 26, as part of an international effort to support United Nations sanctions against North Korea. In the short span of the deployment, DND says “several interactions” occurred between the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft and aircraft of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). DND said in these interactions the PLAAF did not adhere to international air safety norms, was unprofessional, and put the safety of RCAF personnel at risk. “In some instances, the RCAF aircrew felt sufficiently at risk that they had to quickly modify their own flight path in order to increase separation and avoid a potential collision with the intercepting aircraft,” says the DND statement. Sources speaking to Global News said the Chinese jets flew so close to the Aurora that pilots could make eye contact, with the Chinese pilots sometimes giving the Canadians the middle finger. In the statement, DND said Chinese aircrews are “very clearly visible as they approach and attempt to divert our patrol aircraft from their flight path.” The harassment occurred in the context of a UN-sanctioned mission, DND said, indicating the issue was addressed through diplomatic channels. Global Affairs Canada was contacted for comment but said it wasn’t able to respond before the deadline. The Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) contribution to the U.S.-led multinational effort to monitor UN sanctions on North Korea is dubbed Op NEON. The sanctions were imposed by the UN Security Council between 2006 and 2017 in response to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and ballistic missile launches. The sanctions cap the amount of coal that can be exported and the amount of fuel that can be imported by North Korea. The U.S.-led Pacific Security Maritime Exchange (PSMX) was created in 2018 to combat North Korea’s sanctions evasion. It includes Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. PSMX partners monitor the country’s use of clandestine ship-to-ship oil transfers to circumvent sanctions. Ships that are identified get ultimately “scrapped,” according to a U.S. diplomatic note on April 15. “Identifying smuggling ships raises the cost for the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] to undermine UN sanctions, forcing the DPRK to attempt to create ever more intricate smuggling networks, usually involving multiple vessels, to transfer just one load of oil,” wrote April Kathryn Crummit of the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation. The Epoch Times contacted the defence departments of France and the U.S. to find out if their personnel has been similarly harassed by the Chinese military, but didn’t hear back before publication time. DND said it doesn’t track, nor would it comment on, what other countries have experienced. The Australian defence ministry accused a Chinese navy ship of pointing a military-grade laser at one of its surveillance planes back in February, but the incident in the Arafura Sea north of Australia was likely unrelated to North Korea sanctions monitoring. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took power in 2015 he sought to improve relations with Beijing, notably by seeking a free trade deal and considering an extradition treaty. The relations took a severe downturn in 2018 when Canada arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wangzhou in response to an extradition request from the U.S., with China retaliating by arbitrarily detaining Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. This issue was resolved in September when Meng reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, after which Kovrig and Spavor were immediately released. In mid-May Canada announced it was banning Huawei and other Chinese telecom company ZTE from its 5G network on security grounds, drawing the ire of Beijing. Follow Noé Chartier is an Epoch Times reporter based in Montreal. Twitter: @NChartierET Gettr: @nchartieret

Chinese Fighter Jets Buzz Canadian Planes, Putting Personnel at Risk, Says Canada’s Defence Department

A Canadian military plane was dangerously harassed by Chinese fighter jets during a recent mission in international airspace, the Department of National Defence (DND) said on June 1.

The Royal Canadian Airforce’s CP-140 Aurora Maritime Patrol Aircraft was deployed to Japan and flew sorties between April 26 and May 26, as part of an international effort to support United Nations sanctions against North Korea.

In the short span of the deployment, DND says “several interactions” occurred between the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft and aircraft of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

DND said in these interactions the PLAAF did not adhere to international air safety norms, was unprofessional, and put the safety of RCAF personnel at risk.

“In some instances, the RCAF aircrew felt sufficiently at risk that they had to quickly modify their own flight path in order to increase separation and avoid a potential collision with the intercepting aircraft,” says the DND statement.

Sources speaking to Global News said the Chinese jets flew so close to the Aurora that pilots could make eye contact, with the Chinese pilots sometimes giving the Canadians the middle finger.

In the statement, DND said Chinese aircrews are “very clearly visible as they approach and attempt to divert our patrol aircraft from their flight path.”

The harassment occurred in the context of a UN-sanctioned mission, DND said, indicating the issue was addressed through diplomatic channels.

Global Affairs Canada was contacted for comment but said it wasn’t able to respond before the deadline.

The Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) contribution to the U.S.-led multinational effort to monitor UN sanctions on North Korea is dubbed Op NEON.

The sanctions were imposed by the UN Security Council between 2006 and 2017 in response to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and ballistic missile launches.

The sanctions cap the amount of coal that can be exported and the amount of fuel that can be imported by North Korea.

The U.S.-led Pacific Security Maritime Exchange (PSMX) was created in 2018 to combat North Korea’s sanctions evasion. It includes Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

PSMX partners monitor the country’s use of clandestine ship-to-ship oil transfers to circumvent sanctions. Ships that are identified get ultimately “scrapped,” according to a U.S. diplomatic note on April 15.

“Identifying smuggling ships raises the cost for the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] to undermine UN sanctions, forcing the DPRK to attempt to create ever more intricate smuggling networks, usually involving multiple vessels, to transfer just one load of oil,” wrote April Kathryn Crummit of the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation.

The Epoch Times contacted the defence departments of France and the U.S. to find out if their personnel has been similarly harassed by the Chinese military, but didn’t hear back before publication time.

DND said it doesn’t track, nor would it comment on, what other countries have experienced.

The Australian defence ministry accused a Chinese navy ship of pointing a military-grade laser at one of its surveillance planes back in February, but the incident in the Arafura Sea north of Australia was likely unrelated to North Korea sanctions monitoring.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took power in 2015 he sought to improve relations with Beijing, notably by seeking a free trade deal and considering an extradition treaty.

The relations took a severe downturn in 2018 when Canada arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wangzhou in response to an extradition request from the U.S., with China retaliating by arbitrarily detaining Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

This issue was resolved in September when Meng reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, after which Kovrig and Spavor were immediately released.

In mid-May Canada announced it was banning Huawei and other Chinese telecom company ZTE from its 5G network on security grounds, drawing the ire of Beijing.


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Noé Chartier is an Epoch Times reporter based in Montreal. Twitter: @NChartierET Gettr: @nchartieret