OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The tensions between Canada and China are ratcheting up.
Just as the prime minister arrives in Japan for the G20 summit, there are reports of Chinese fighter jets buzzing a Canadian warship.
The close fly-past is said to have happened on Monday in international waters east of Shanghai.
Adam MacDonald, a retired naval officers who studies Canada-China relations, says this is China making their presence known.
“It’s increasing a little bit more,” says MacDonald. “Assertive and posturing, maybe not entirely dangerous.”
A reporter and fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute was aboard the HMCS Regina when it happened. He reports two Chinese fighter jets flew past, just 300 metres above the ship.
The noisy buzz came after days after the Canadian navy observed other Chinese jets flying kilometres away.
The captain of the HMCS Regina says this was not a dangerous scenario, but it’s one he is paying close attention to. He refused to characterize the intent of the Chinese military.
MacDonald says that while this was not dangerous, China is sending a message.
“Political gesturing moves that, in this case, China’s using to demonstrate not just capability, but also telling Canada that they are aware of their presence,” says MacDonald.
This comes as tensions between Beijing and Ottawa are at a high. Officials in China are furious with Canada for arresting the CFO of telecom giant, Huawei, at the request of the Americans.
Since Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in December, two Canadians have been arbitrary detained and China has barred several Canadian imports, including all meat products.
While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be sitting next to the Chinese president at the G20 summit, the two do not have a meeting scheduled.