Canada’s top defense official, Bill Blair, voiced deep concerns after reports emerged about a potentially hazardous confrontation between a Chinese fighter jet and a Canadian reconnaissance aircraft over international seas. The event, reported by Global News, highlighted that the Chinese jet approached within a mere five meters (about 16 feet) of the Canadian plane, which was actively participating in a UN-led mission monitoring North Korean sanctions.
This incident, which unfolded near China’s coastline, was covered in real-time by a Global news crew onboard the Canadian plane. Blair emphasized that while interactions between the Chinese air force and UN mission planes were not uncommon, Monday’s event had exposed the Canadian plane to considerable danger.
Blair expressed his dismay, stating, “Such an approach was not only unprofessional but perilously careless. Such actions are never permissible, and we intend to convey our concerns to the People’s Republic of China with utmost clarity.” The specifics of the planned communication were not detailed.
China’s diplomatic mission in Ottawa chose not to comment on the account as presented by Global News.
Historically, Canada has previously pinpointed issues with Chinese aircraft. As recent as June 2022, Canadian forces accused Chinese military planes of undue interference with their aircraft surveilling North Korean sanctions, occasionally necessitating abrupt course changes.
Earlier in May, the US Defense Department also spotlighted an instance where a Chinese fighter plane executed what was termed an “excessively confrontational” move near a US aircraft over the South China Sea. Such actions by Chinese military planes are perceived in Washington as part of a growing trend of aggressive maneuvers.