China has responded with threats of “serious consequences” for continued “aggression” after Australia complained that a Chinese fighter released chaff in the path of a P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft in May. The Australians say the Poseidon’s engines ingested some of the aluminum fragments but it landed safely. It was reportedly out of service for about a week. The Aussies say the chaff release came after a J-16 fighter released flares while flying beside the converted Boeing 737. It accelerated and flew across the path of the Boeing and released the chaff. The incident came a few days after a Canadian surveillance aircraft was buzzed by Chinese fighters off North Korea.
Canadian officials said the CP-140 Aurora, which is similar to a P-3 Orion, was conducting a sanctions enforcement flight as part of a NATO operation when the crew had to take evasive action to avoid getting too close to the fighter. Canada has complained to China and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called out the incident in a news conference. “China’s actions are irresponsible and provocative and we will continue to register strongly that they are putting people at risk while at the same time not respecting decisions by the U.N.,” Trudeau said.
Meanwhile the Chinese say they were just protecting their turf, turf they’ve claimed in recent years in the South China Sea. “China will never allow any country to violate China’s sovereignty and security in the name of freedom of navigation, and endanger peace and stability in the South China Sea,” the Chinese said in a statement.