Chinese surveillance in the Arctic was monitored by the Canadian military

In 2007, a Zodiac from the Canadian Navy was on a patrol in the Arctic Ocean close to Baffin Island

According to the Canadian military, it recently found proof of Chinese surveillance activities in the Arctic.

Questions have been raised about China's activities in the far north following the discovery, which was first reported by Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail.

It happens after a rumored Chinese spy balloon passed over US and Canadian airspace before being shot down by US forces.

Additionally recently accused of meddling in Canadian elections is China.

As part of Operation Limpid, a continuous Canadian military mission tasked with identifying security threats to the nation by monitoring air, land, and sea domains, surveillance buoys were found and retrieved last fall.

The military is "fully aware of recent efforts by China to conduct surveillance operations in Canadian airspace and maritime approaches," according to Daniel Le Bouthillier, a spokesman for Canada's Department of National Defence.

According to Mr. Le Bouthillier, China accomplishes this using "dual-purpose technologies," or tools that conduct surveillance for both research and military purposes.

He claimed that attempts to spy on Canadian soil have been stopped by the military since 2022, but he did not go into further detail.

Long-standing Arctic interest from China. It takes part in most important Arctic institutions and has dispatched high-level officials 33 times in the past 20 years.

It has also sent naval ships to the north, frequently on research expeditions, and expanded its fleet of icebreakers.

Photo of two guards standing in front of the Xuelong 2 icebreaker in Shanghai, China, after it arrived following a five-month expedition.
Long-standing Arctic interest from China. It sent an icebreaker on a five-month research voyage across the area in 2021.

As the ice sheets melt due to climate change, China hopes to gain access to new resources and open a shorter trade route to Europe through the area.

However, according to experts, China has increased its research interests in the area while also attempting to spy on military installations in the Arctic.

They are part of a larger initiative by several Arctic countries, including the US, Canada, Finland, Russia, Norway, and Sweden, to realize the region's untapped potential.

Roberto Mazzolin, a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and a former senior official in the Canadian Armed Forces, said that this region of the world has not been mapped and understood in as much detail as other latitudes.

According to Mr. Mazzolin, Canada has traditionally viewed the Arctic as a region that is safe and unlikely to pose a threat. But that has changed as a result of Russian and, more recently, Chinese interest in the area.

In order to protect the interests of both Canada and the United States, he said, "[Canada is forced to] look at how we would posture our own security, our military defense, or our economic development activities.".

China is becoming a more disruptive power, according to Melanie Joly, the foreign minister of Canada, who spoke to CNN on Wednesday.

Ms. Joly continued by saying that Canada and the US are collaborating closely to safeguard Canadian sovereignty over the Arctic and North American airspace.

Following revelations by Canadian intelligence that China had attempted to meddle in Canada's most recent federal election in 2021, the Chinese buoys were discovered by the Canadian military.

In documents that were first made public by the Globe and Mail, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service described China's efforts to ensure the defeat of Conservative politicians who are viewed as being hostile to China and to re-elect Justin Trudeau's Liberals to a minority of government.

According to information provided by the Globe, it did this by giving money to preferred candidates, disseminating false information, employing paid interns and consulates to support particular Liberal candidates, and spreading disinformation.

Inquiries into claims that China meddled in Canada's 2019 federal election are currently being conducted by Canadian lawmakers. They added the 2021 election to their list of possible outcomes on Tuesday.

The suspected Chinese interference in the election was described as "an extraordinarily serious issue" by Prime Minister Trudeau on Wednesday. He also stated his support for further investigation into these claims.

He continued, while the attempts at meddling thus far appear to have failed, there is still cause for concern that foreign nations may be attempting to meddle in Canada's democratic processes.

Foreign actors are attempting to erode public confidence in democracy, according to Mr. Trudeau.

These reports have been refuted by Chinese officials in Canada, who claim that they do not meddle in domestic or electoral affairs in Canada.

After a Chinese balloon was spotted flying over North America earlier this month, speculation about China's alleged surveillance activities in that region took center stage in the news.

The balloon was allegedly spying on important military assets, according to both the US and Canada. However, China has refuted claims that it was being used for surveillance, claiming instead that it was a weather balloon intended for civilian use that veered off course.

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