Much like the platypus, Canadians are very calm, well respected, polite, and docile people. For someone like China to decide they are worth messing with, it’s a sign that something is wrong in the world. From April 25th to May 26th China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) approached a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol plane.
According to an RCAF spokesman “In these interactions, PLAAF aircraft did not adhere to international air safety norms. These interactions are unprofessional and/or put the safety of our RCAF personnel at risk.” At points, these interactions were so bad that the RCAF pilots were being forced to abandon their flight paths to avoid collisions with these intercepting aircraft according to the statement. Naturally, Beijing has been silent on the whole subject.
Between Taiwan and Canada, China is trying to pick on those far less capable of defending themselves. That’s not to say either nation is weak by far, but they simply are not big enough to tangle with China and come out relatively unscathed. Especially Taiwan. Their jets aren’t on the same level of quality, and their air defense systems are sorrily lacking the punch needed to battle China.
These interactions with the Canadians are occurring as they are providing overwatch for United Nations Security Council (UNSC)-sanctions against North Korea. Dubbed “Operation NEON” these military ships, aircraft, and personnel are deployed to identify suspected sanction violations. Included ship-to-ship transfers of fuel and other supplies the UN has banned North Korea from taking part in. China has previously claimed they are providing UNSC enforcement, but in these instances, it would seem that those statements are indeed false.
In response to North Korea still violating these sanctions, there is an outcry for further sanctions against the tiny hermit nation. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a briefing that “under current circumstances, ramping up sanctions won’t help solve the problem.” With the recent Russia-China alliance, his statement signifies a massive change being on the horizon in Indo-Pacific relations.
With China and Russia undertaking a joint operations ariel patrol last week over the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea, and the Western Pacific these two nations are beginning to learn the capabilities of each nation, and it looks like they are making plans to be working together for many years to come. This is also the first exercise the two have undertaken since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year.
Aggression by China, Russia, or any other country against American interests is an act of aggression against global security. With China already putting pressure on Taiwan and indirectly guarding North Korea, there are a lot of different nuances for the global economy and global leadership to contend with. Given the size of both the Russian and Chinese militaries, there is a lot of potential firepower behind each country. However, as Russia has shown, they are not capable of defeating a nation with a strong determination to survive, and China’s military has not been tested in decades.
The conflict in Ukraine has proven that having a massive military doesn’t matter when they are poorly trained, lack supplies, and lack motivation. Their quick invasion was stifled almost as quickly by a determined and well-armed combination of Ukrainian military and civilians. With the Ukrainian President forcing men 18-60 to stay and defend their country as women and children were helped to evacuate, he quickly assembled a great force to push the Russians back.
Being untested means China is like Russia was, and that makes them a wildcard. With nobody knowing their exact capabilities, there is a lot of concern about what they could do, and until the time comes questions about this will abound. Should they choose to go after Taiwan in armed conflict, the US, Australia, and others will be forced to help defend the tiny country, and it’s a conflict none of us want.