us air force thunderbirds on sky
Photo by Sean P. Twomey on

China condemned on Tuesday Canada's "illegal" intrusion into its airspace after Ottawa accused Beijing's fighter jets of a "reckless" intercept of a Canadian maritime patrol aircraft.

Chinese planes shadowed Ottawa's Aurora aircraft — on a mission to enforce United Nations sanctions against North Korea — over several hours in international waters, according to a Canadian television crew on the flight.

One came within five metres of the Canadian plane, in a move Ottawa's Defense Minister Bill Blair Monday called "unprofessional."

But Beijing hit back on Tuesday, accusing the plane of having "illegally intruded into the airspace" of Chiwei island, which lies in the Japan-administered Senkakus claimed by China.

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