Updated February 23rd, 2023 at 23:24 IST

Canadian military discovers Chinese spy buoys in Arctic surveilling US submarines

Chinese buoys are equipped with “dual-purpose technologies” allegedly used for spying in Arctic. It is, however, unclear if buoys floated into Canadian waters.

Reported by: Zaini Majeed
IMAGE: AP | Image:self

Canada's Department of National Defence, and Canadian Armed Forces on Wednesday announced that they discovered Chinese spy buoys in the Arctic, surveilling the US submarines and melting ice sheets. describing that such 'spying activity' isn't new, the Canadian defense minister Anita Anand, in a televised address, said Beijing has been conducting surveillance efforts in the region for a while, according to CBC Canada.

'Tracked and stopped attempts to surveil Canadian territory': Defence spokesperson

In a separate statement to Globe and Mail newspaper, the Canadian Department of National Defence spokesperson, Daniel Le Bouthillier, noted that Canadian armed forces "tracked and stopped attempts to surveil Canadian territory since 2022 under Operation LIMPID." The Canadian military "is fully aware of recent efforts by China to conduct surveillance operations in Canadian airspace and maritime approaches," he was quoted saying. 

"To ensure the integrity of operations, we are unable to provide further information at this time," he was quoted by CBC as saying. 

Chinese buoys are equipped with “dual-purpose technologies” that are allegedly used for spying in the Arctic. It is, however, unclear if the buoys floated into Canadian waters or were anchored. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, in an interview with CNN broadcaster, noted that US and Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is tasked to protect the North American airspace.

She stressed that Canada is asserting its Arctic sovereignty against such activities of foreign intervention in Canadian territories.  "When it comes to China, we will challenge China when we ought to, and we will co-operate with China when we need to," she told the broadcaster in televised remarks. 

"When it comes to issues over the Arctic within our maritime borders, or any form of foreign interference, we will be clear, and that's how we will address this issue," Joly continued. The spying buoys were first reported by Globe and Mail and came just days after US shot down the Chinese high-altitude spy balloon over Montana. They are capable of charting the sea bed, warnings the vessels,  and monitor salinity levels as well as the ice sheets thinning.

While Canada has reported that it has consistently made attempts to thwart surveillance efforts of Beijing on Canadian territory since 2022, it did not detail what vital information may be at threat or whether China has been confronted for the same. 


Published February 23rd, 2023 at 23:24 IST