China has accused Canada of breaching its airspace and conducting an “illegal intrusion” following a close encounter between a Canadian surveillance aircraft and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fighter jets in the East China Sea. The incident occurred when a Canadian CP-140 Aurora spy plane flew into Chinese territory over the island of Chiwei Yu. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning condemned the move as a “provocative act” and accused Canada of “sending warplanes halfway around the world to stir up trouble and make provocations at China’s doorsteps.”
The encounter was initially reported by Canadian media outlets, with Global News stating that Chinese fighter jets intercepted the Canadian plane during a sanctions-enforcement mission against North Korea in sea lanes in the East China Sea. A Global News crew was on board the Canadian plane during the incident, and the outlet later confirmed that a Chinese jet came within just five meters of the Aurora.
Canadian Defense Minister Bill Blair criticized the Chinese military for their “dangerous and reckless” maneuvers and stated that such behavior is not acceptable. He promised to express Canada’s concerns to the People’s Republic of China in an appropriate manner. Canadian Major General Iain Huddleston confirmed that the surveillance plane was operating in international airspace during its patrol. However, the Chinese spokeswoman disputed this claim, asserting that the Canadian plane had flown over the disputed Diaoyu Islands, which are claimed by Beijing, Tokyo, and Taipei.
Mao Ning further criticized Canada for frequently conducting “close-in reconnaissance” against China, often under the pretext of UN resolutions related to North Korea. She emphasized that UN Security Council resolutions have never authorized any country to deploy forces and conduct surveillance operations in the airspace or waters of other countries. China opposes any actions that jeopardize its national sovereignty and security under the guise of implementing resolutions.
This incident is the latest in a series of tensions between China and Canada. In recent years, the two countries have experienced diplomatic strains over issues such as human rights, the extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, and Canada’s arrest of two Canadians in response to Meng’s detention. These tensions have significantly impacted bilateral relations, trade, and diplomatic exchanges.
China’s accusation of Canada breaching its airspace highlights the deepening divisions between the two countries. The dispute over territorial claims and the increasing assertiveness of both Canadian and Chinese military activities in the region contribute to the rising tensions. As both countries maintain their positions, it remains to be seen how this incident will impact their future relationship and regional security dynamics.
In conclusion, China has accused Canada of conducting an “illegal intrusion” into its airspace, prompting a strong rebuttal from the Canadian government. The incident sheds light on the ongoing tensions between the two countries and their differing perspectives on territorial claims and military activities in the region. The consequences of this encounter and the broader implications for bilateral relations and regional security are yet to unfold.