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Report: Canada installs Chinese monitoring devices in the Pacific

By Elizabeth Shim
Naval Base Kitsap in Silverdale, Wash., is about 200 miles from underwater monitoring devices planted in the high seas in June. File Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy/EPA
Naval Base Kitsap in Silverdale, Wash., is about 200 miles from underwater monitoring devices planted in the high seas in June. File Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy/EPA

Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Canada has installed underwater monitoring devices about 186 miles from the Pacific coast of the United States, and the technology was built in China and uses high-tech sensors to keep track of the marine environment.

They are connected to Ocean Networks Canada, a system of observatories that span the northeastern Pacific and the Arctic, according to the South China Morning Post.

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The four devices in the network belong to Sanya Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering, a unit of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In an email to UPI, Ocean Networks Canada said the Endeavour expansion project, which the sensors are part of, received funding in 2013 and the sensors have been part of a "planned expansion" since 2016.

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The technology streams real-time data to Chinese scientists and was deployed on June 27, according to the Post.

Naval Base Kitsap, a U.S. Navy base located on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington state, is near the Juan de Fuca Ridge in the northeast Pacific, where the devices were planted. It is home to a nuclear submarine shipyard and can accommodate a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.

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Chen Hongqiao, a researcher at the Center for Canadian Studies at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in Guangzhou, said the deployment could only have happened with approval from the top of each government.

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"Deep sea observation networks are highly sensitive, and closely related to national security...Countries don't open them up to third parties unless there is a high level of trust and confidence," the analyst said. "Such collaboration is very unusual. The implications go far beyond science, [so] it could have only happened with a nod from the top on both sides."

CBC reported last week Canada is under pressure to support the United States in its policy of escalating tariffs against China, despite cost increases the tariffs impose on Canadian manufacturers.

Canadian analysts said the country needs to diversify and depend less on the United States in trade and other matters.

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The United States has said it would crack down on "transshipments," or Chinese exports under tariffs, that use a third country like Canada as a trading stop over before delivery to the United States.

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