The Canadian military has accused Chinese air force pilots of unprofessional and risky behavior during their recent encounters in international airspace.
The Canadian planes involved were deployed to Japan as part of a multinational effort to enforce United Nations sanctions against North Korea, which has faced international sanctions over its nuclear weapons and missile program ballistics.
The Canadian Armed Forces said Wednesday that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force “failed to meet international aviation safety standards” on several occasions.
“These interactions are unprofessional and/or endanger the safety of (Royal Canadian Air Force) personnel.”
In some cases, the Canadian crew had to quickly alter their flight path to “avoid a potential collision with the intercepting aircraft,” the statement said.
At times, Chinese planes attempted to divert Canadian planes from their flight path and flew so close that the crew were “very clearly visible,” the statement said.
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The statement said such interactions in international airspace during UN-sanctioned missions were becoming more frequent, adding that “these occurrences were also handled through diplomatic channels.”
US intelligence said North Korea appears to be preparing for its first nuclear test since 2017.
The United States forced a vote in the UN Security Council on Thursday on tougher sanctions after North Korea carried out a series of rocket launches, including, according to American and South Korean officials, a missile intercontinental ballistics.
The United States said the test was a brazen violation of a unanimous UN resolution in 2017 that warned of new consequences for testing long-range missiles or nuclear weapons.
But China, North Korea’s main ally, and Russia, whose relations with the West have deteriorated sharply following its invasion of Ukraine, have both vetoed the resolution, saying that new sanctions would be counterproductive and increase tensions.
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In June 2019, two Canadian Navy ships were “buzzed” by Chinese fighter jets as they crossed the East China Sea.
The ships had been tracked by several Chinese ships and planes as they transited the maritime region.