RCN frigate, supply vessel buzzed by Chinese fighters in Taiwan Strait

Last week, a frigate and a supply vessel of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) have been buzzed by two Chinese fighters as the warships were transiting the Taiwan Strait. This came some days after U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft tracked a Chinese aircraft carrier in the same waters.

RCN frigate supply vessel buzzed by Chinese fighters in Taiwan Strait Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Regina during a Pacific Ocean deployment (Picture Source: U.S. Navy)

Halifax-class frigate HMCS Regina (FFH 334), along with Naval Replenishment Unit Asterix passed through the strait on Monday, June 24, travelling from a port visit in Vietnam to participate in operation NEON (an operation that aims to counter efforts by North Korea to evade international sanctions), according to the Canadian Department of National Defense (DND).

During the Canadian ships’ transit through the strait, a pair of Su-30 fighters of the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) flew about 30 metres above the water, coming within 300 metres of the ships, according to an account posted by the CBC.

A DND statement on Thursday said that while People's Liberation Army vessels and aircraft have followed the Canadian ships since they left Vietnam earlier this month, this latest incident with the fighter jets was their closest encounter to date.

“We were clear about the transit of Canadian vessels through the Taiwan Strait and monitored the vessels for the whole process,” Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense, said during a Thursday, June 27, press briefing, according to the ministry’s official English language translation of the transcript.

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