Canadian navy ships ‘buzzed’ by Chinese warplanes

Agence France-Presse
The Canadian military says its navy helicopter was also targeted by a laser detected from a nearby Chinese fishing boat

WARPLANES. File photo of a Russian Su-30 fighter jet performing during an aerobatics show at Zhangjiajie Lotus Airport near the Zhangjiajie Tianmenshan National Park, in China's central province of Hunan, 18 March 2006. Photo by Liu Jin/AFP

OTTAWA, Canada – Two Canadian naval vessels were “buzzed” by Chinese fighter jets when they sailed through the East China Sea this week, the Canadian military said Thursday, June 27.

A Canadian navy helicopter was also targeted by a laser detected from a nearby fishing boat, it said in a statement.

There were no injuries nor damage, but the revelations come amid heightened tensions between the two nations over Canada’s arrest of a senior telecoms executive last December and China’s detention of two Canadian nationals in apparent retaliation.

Canada’s defense ministry said the frigate HMCS Regina and support vessel Asterix were in “international waters in the East China Sea” when two Chinese Su-30 fighter jets “passed the ship at a range of approximately 300 meters (985 feet) and an altitude of approximately 100 feet.”

The so-called “buzzing” happened on Monday, June 24, at around 3:30 pm local time, it said.

The ships had been shadowed by several Chinese vessels and aircraft as they transited through the maritime region.

Ottawa described the interactions as “professional and cordial,” adding that the Chinese fly-past was “not hazardous, nor unexpected” given the naval operation’s proximity to China.

Both ships had just come from a visit to Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay and were headed to Northeast Asia to join a multinational effort to prevent smuggling in evasion of UN sanctions against North Korea.

Relations between China and Canada deteriorated since December when police in Vancouver detained Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a US arrest warrant.

Days later China arrested two Canadians – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor – in what is widely seen as a tit-for-tat move.

Leaders of the two nations, both in Japan for G20 talks this week, have not spoken since. –