(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called China’s actions “irresponsible and provocative” over reports the Asian nation’s fighter jets have buzzed Canadian planes helping to enforce sanctions on North Korea.
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The prime minister’s comments come two weeks after his government joined its closest intelligence allies in banning Huawei Technologies Co. from fifth-generation wireless networks, threatening to reignite tensions between the two countries.
Canada’s military argues Chinese jets are putting the safety of Canadian pilots at risk by flying so close. In some cases Canadian crews “had to quickly modify their own flight path in order to increase separation and avoid a potential collision with the intercepting aircraft,” the defense department said in a statement last Wednesday.
Australia has also said that one of their planes was damaged last month by chaff released by Chinese jet.
Trudeau, asked to respond to those incidents on Monday during a news conference in Ottawa, said Canada is standing up for the rule of law by taking part in a United Nations mission.
“China’s actions are irresponsible and provocative in this case, and we will continue to register strongly that they are putting people at risk, while at the same time not respecting decisions by the UN to enforce UN sanctions,” Trudeau told reporters.
Canada has deployed a CP-140 Aurora Maritime Patrol Aircraft as part of Operation Neon, a multilateral effort to monitor and enforce sanctions imposed on North Korea.
The Huawei announcement last month had been delayed for years as relations soured after Canada’s arrest of a top executive at the state-championed Chinese firm on a U.S. extradition request in late 2018.
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