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Chinese fighter jet harasses Canadian plane on UN mission

China flag. (Unsplash)
October 17, 2023

In a tense standoff over international waters, a Chinese military jet took “aggressive” actions against a Canadian Armed Forces Aurora aircraft on Monday.

The Canadian aircraft was part of Operation NEON, Canada’s initiative in support of enforcing United Nations sanctions against North Korea, according to Global News.

Maj. Gen. Iain Huddleston, told Global News, “They became very aggressive and to a degree we would deem it unsafe and unprofessional.” The incident occurred during a mission in which Global News reporters were present on the Canadian military aircraft.

Huddleston further elaborated on the situation, noting an unwarranted increase in aggression, stating, “It’s a ramp-up of the aggressiveness that’s really unexpected and unnecessary in the context of the mission that we’re flying.”

Throughout the mission, which spanned over eight hours, the Canadian aircraft faced consistent interceptions by at least two Chinese jets. The interceptions brought the Chinese aircraft alarmingly close to the Canadian aircraft, with distances shrinking to just five meters.

While many of the encounters were considered professional by the Canadian Armed Forces members on board, one specific Chinese jet equipped with air-to-air missiles acted especially aggressively, maneuvering dangerously close and positioning itself in the Canadian aircraft’s blind spot.

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Discussing the unsettling proximity of the encounter, Huddleston said, “I’m concerned when they do that. There’s a heightened risk to those sorts of interactions and we’d like to avoid those as much as we can. We record these things up through the chain with the evidence we gather and then allow our diplomatic agencies to become involved.”

Adding to the alarming situation, the Chinese jet deployed several firework-like flares near the Canadian plane, according to Global News. “In terms of escalation that’s a very unsafe act,” Huddleston commented on the flare incident.

During the Canadian aircraft’s mission, the 13-member crew identified a “vessel of interest” linked to illegal oil shipments to North Korea. Emphasizing their purpose, Huddleston said, “We’re here enforcing a United Nations resolution. We are not here acting against the Chinese. We don’t want to have anything untoward happen that would result in loss of life.”

The underlying reasons for such aggressive posturing by the Chinese jets remain unclear. However, the Canadian team, committed to their mission, maintained their position in international waters, making sure to communicate their identity and purpose to the Chinese pilots by radio.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.