Canadian navy ships ‘buzzed’ by Chinese warplanes

OTTAWA (AFP) – 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.

A Canadian navy helicopter was also targetted 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 Defence 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 metres and an altitude of approximately 100 feet”.

The so-called “buzzing” happened on Monday at around 3.30pm 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.