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China’s Defence Ministry said on Saturday that a Canadian military helicopter with “unknown intentions” in the South China Sea violated Chinese and international laws.

The move also jeopardized China’s sovereignty and security, and was a “malicious” and “provocative” act with “ulterior motives,” a spokesman at the ministry said in a statement.

Canada’s defence minister on Friday accused Chinese warplanes of buzzing the Canadian helicopter over international waters in the South China Sea the previous weekend and firing flares at it, putting the crew in danger.

China’s response was professional and in line with norms, the Defence Ministry spokesman said.

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