China Warns Canada of ‘Severe Consequences’ over North Korea Patrol

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Richard made his comment 'out of self-interest to undermine relations between China and France' GREG BAKER AFP
(GREG BAKER/AFP)

Canada’s Air Force will face “severe consequences” if it continues alleged acts of provocation against Chinese aircraft while conducting U.N. Security Council-backed air surveillance of North Korea, Beijing warned Monday as quoted by Reuters.

China’s foreign ministry issued the deterrent message on June 6 while responding to an allegation by Canada on June 1 that Chinese warplanes recently harassed a Canadian military surveillance aircraft over the East China Sea while it monitored North Korean vessels for possible U.N. sanction evasion activities.

The Royal Canadian Air Force implied that its CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft was flying in international airspace when it was buzzed by several unspecified aircraft of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) sometime between April 26 and May 26. This implication was dismissed on June 7 by Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who intimated that Canada’s CP-140 had violated China’s airspace during the disputed incident.

“UN Security Council resolutions have never mandated any country to deploy forces and conduct surveillance operations in jurisdictional air and sea areas of other countries for the purpose of identifying sanctions evasion activities,” Zhao stated at a regular press briefing on Tuesday in Beijing.

“The Canadian military aircraft’s close-in reconnaissance on China is flat-out irresponsible and provocative,” he added.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman’s remarks came one day after he offered a more complete response to Canada’s allegation against the Chinese PLAAF on June 6.

Asked by a Chinese state media outlet called Dragon TV about the military encounter, Zhao said:

Canadian military aircraft have recently increased close-in reconnaissance and made provocations to the Chinese side in the name of implementing UN Security Council resolutions. This is a dangerous act against China’s national security and the safety of Chinese and Canadian front-line personnel. China firmly opposes this.

In response to the Canadian side’s provocative acts and unfriendly and unprofessional maneuvers, the Chinese military promptly took legitimate and forceful measures in response that are safe and professional. China has also lodged serious démarches with the Canadian side through diplomatic channels.

China urges Canada to see the severity of the incident and refrain from taking any adventurist or provocative moves. Otherwise all the grave consequences will be borne by the Canadian side.

Chinese defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian also commented on the air force incident between China and Canada in a statement issued on June 6. Echoing Zhao Lijian, PLA Col. Wu claimed Canada’s Royal Canadian Air Force had recently ramped up “close-in reconnaissance and provocations against China under the pretext of implementing United Nations Security Council resolutions […] endanger[ing] China’s national security and the safety of front-line personnel on both sides.”

“In response to the provocative acts and unfriendly and unprofessional operations by Canadian military aircraft, the Chinese military took reasonable, effective, safe and professional actions,” he added.

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