Press release

Western Flights Monitoring North Korean Sanctions Worry China Over National Security And Sovereignty

On a recent patrol over the East China Sea, a Canadian military plane was warned by a Chinese official to steer clear of Pengjia, an islet controlled by Taiwan but claimed by Beijing. 

The flight’s U.S. crew commander disclosed to the Financial Times that they were 35 to 40 miles away from the islet.

The Aurora CP-140 long-range surveillance aircraft’s mission is to identify and disrupt tankers shipping illegal oil and petroleum products to North Korea, often originating from Taiwan and China, in defiance of U.N. sanctions. This operation, contributing to a U.S.-led intelligence alliance, has drawn Beijing’s ire as it suspects the West of utilizing the North Korean sanctions violations as a pretext for expanding its military presence in the area.

According to Cao Yanzhong, a research fellow at the People’s Liberation Army’s Academy of Military Sciences, the mission is seen as “provocative behavior” rather than “innocent passage.” Beijing’s surveillance against these flights is deemed a natural and necessary response to protect their national security and sovereignty.

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