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© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Anita Anand, Canada’s defence minister, speaks during a news conference on a panel report about systemic racism, discrimination, and the military. Ottawa, Ontario Canada. April 25, 2022. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle

Raju Gopalakrishnan

SINGAPORE (Reuters), – Canada thinks China was “very concerning, unprofessional” in harassing North Korean patrol aircraft, Anita Anand, the Defence Minister, stated on Saturday. She declined to answer when asked if China had brought up this issue.

Anand, speaking on the sidelines the Shangri-La Dialogue Singapore, Asia’s most important security meeting, said that she had raised the topic through diplomatic channels. Anand answered a question about whether she spoke to Wei Fenghe (Chinese Defence Minister), who was also present at the meeting.

Canada’s military has accused Chinese warplanes of harassing it as they patrolled North Korea, occasionally forcing them to deviate from their flights.

China’s defence ministry claimed that Canadian military aircraft have increased their reconnaissance of China and made “provocations” to China under the pretense of applying U.N. Security Council Resolutions. This is putting at risk China’s security.

Anand stated that “The Chinese interceptions of our (aircrafts) by their Chinese are extremely concerning and unprofessional” and that it was important to protect the safety and security our pilots, particularly when they are only monitoring UN-sanctioned missions.

Lloyd Austin, U.S. Defense secretary, told the meeting on Saturday earlier that there was an “alarming” increase in unprofessional and unsafe encounters between Chinese vessels and planes with other nations.

Anand also reiterated Canada’s commitment to “stand shoulder-to-shoulder” with Ukraine and keep it supplied with the military, economic and humanitarian aid it needs.

According to reports, Canada asked South Korea for artillery ammunition to be supplied to it. This was apparently in order to “backfill” the supplies Ottawa had sent to Ukraine.

South Korea’s Ministry of Defense spokesmen confirmed Ottawa had requested the information, but did not provide further details, stating that there were no official proceedings related to the request.

Anand stated that “in terms of inventory, we are keeping a careful balance between what we donate and making sure that we leverage our relationships with suppliers so that we send the needed aid to Ukraine.”

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