Canada says China harassed its aircraft on N. Korea mission

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Operation NEON is Canada’s contribution to a coordinated multinational effort to support the implementation of UN Security Council sanctions imposed against North Korea….reports Asian Lite News

Canada’s military has accused Chinese warplanes of harassing its patrol aircraft as they monitor North Korea sanction evasions, sometimes forcing Canadian planes to divert from their flight paths, media reported.

“The Canadian Armed Forces can confirm that, on several occasions during this most recent iteration of Operation NEON, interactions occurred between our Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft and aircraft of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF),” Canadian Armed Forces said in a statement.

It said, during those interactions, PLAAF aircraft did not adhere to international air safety norms.

“The interactions were unprofessional and put the safety of Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) personnel at risk. In some instances, the RCAF aircrew felt sufficiently at risk that they had to quickly modify their own flight path in order to increase separation and avoid a potential collision with the intercepting aircraft,” the statement added.

Operation NEON is Canada’s contribution to a coordinated multinational effort to support the implementation of UN Security Council sanctions imposed against North Korea. These sanctions, imposed between 2006 and 2017, aim to pressure North Korea to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs and respond to North Korean nuclear weapon tests and ballistic missile launches.

Operation NEON sees military ships, aircraft and personnel deployed to conduct surveillance operations to identify suspected maritime sanctions evasion activities, in particular ship-to-ship transfers of fuel and other commodities banned by the United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

Meanwhile, Beijing is yet to comment on the allegations, while filing this report.

China, which says it has enforced the UNSC sanctions, joined Russia in last week in vetoing a US-led proposal for new sanctions on North Korea over its increasing missile tests, it was reported.

“Under current circumstances, ramping up sanctions won’t help solve the problem,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a briefing on Wednesday.

China and Russia’s air forces conducted a joint aerial patrol last week over the Sea of Japan, East China Sea and the Western Pacific, the first such exercise since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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