On October 17 a Chinese military aircraft provocatively intercepted a Canadian Armed Forces Aurora aircraft in international airspace near China’s territorial waters. At the time, the Canadian aircraft was in an operation to enforce United Nations sanctions that prevent illegal transportation of oil to North Korea. The Canadian crew had identified a “suspicious vessel” that was on a watchlist.
During its eight hours of flight, the Canadian aircraft was intercepted by at least two Chinese fighter jets who flew with the Canadian plane for several hours. Chinese jet aircraft at one point came as close as 15 feet from the Canadian aircraft. The Chinese aircraft also launched multiple illumination flares in the vicinity of the Canadian aircraft.
The Washington Post reported that in the past few years Beijing has intensified these kinds of dangerous maneuvers targeting planes of the U.S. and its allies and partners. The total number of such encounters is now near 300. On October 17, Pentagon released videos and photos of some incidents, including an incident in January 2023 where a Chinese J-11 fighter jet flew about 30 feet from an American RC-135 plane and lingered for 15 minutes, and an incident in May 2022 where a Chinese fighter jet flew 15 feet laterally below a US Navy EP-3 plane.
1. Radio France International, October 17, 2023
2. Washington Post, October 17, 2023