Canadian warships buzzed by Chinese fighter jets in international waters

(CBC) Two Chinese fighter jets buzzed a Canadian warship and a supply vessel operating in international waters in the East China Sea earlier this week, the Department of National Defence has confirmed.

On Monday afternoon, local time, a pair of Su-30 warplanes rocketed within 300 metres of the frigate HMCS Regina and MV Asterix, flying about 30 metres above the ocean surface.

A DND statement on Thursday said that while People’s Liberation Army vessels and aircraft have followed the Canadian ships since they left Vietnam earlier this month, this latest incident with the fighter jets was their closest encounter to date.

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“This particular fly-past by the two PLA aircraft was not provocative, hazardous or unexpected, given the proximity of the Operation Neon operating area to China,” said spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier in an email. Operation Neon is the recently announced commitment by the Liberal government to regularly rotate warships in and out of the Far East as part of the United Nations’ enforcement of sanctions on North Korea.

“During her deployment, HMCS Regina was shadowed by a number of different ships and saw aircraft while in the East China Sea,” said Le Bouthillier.

“The Chinese and Taiwanese forces that were seen nearby during our transit were not unexpected — they are known to be present in the strait. Nothing in the interactions between vessels or radio communications was unsafe or unprofessional.”

The military also reported that someone on board a Chinese fishing boat pointed a laser at a Canadian CH-148 Cyclone helicopter operating near the Strait of Taiwan recently. No one was injured in that incident and there no was damage to the aircraft.

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