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Defence Minister Bill Blair speaks with reporters in Nov. 2023. Image: CPAC video capture

Defence Minister calls out unsafe action by Chinese jets

By Adam Riley Nov 6, 2023 | 10:00 AM

Defence Minister Bill Blair is calling out the People’s Republic of China for its intimidation tactics in the South China Sea in the form of unsafe interactions with Canadian military personnel.

Blair says on October 29th a Cyclone helicopter, deployed from HMCS Ottawa, was intercepted multiple times forcing pilots to take maneuvers to avoid being taken out of the sky.

“The same helicopter was once again intercepted by a J-11 fighter aircraft which launched flares directly in front of our helicopter. The helicopter pilot had to maneuver to avoid the flares and reduce the risk of ingesting a flare into the helicopters rotor and intakes. ”

Blair says there were no injuries or damage reported as a result of the interaction, but notes the actions mark a continuation of aggressive actions being taken by China in international waters and airspace.

Canadian Forces are taking part in exercises in the South China Sea with other nations as part of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.