Canadian military intelligence suspected that China would use Russia’s attack on Ukraine as a smokescreen to launch an offensive on Taiwan, the House of Commons defence committee heard on Wednesday. 

Head of Canada’s military intelligence Maj.-Gen. Mike Wright told the committee that his unit was on high alert over possible action by China. 

“Prior to a week ago, we were very concerned about China and in fact wondering if China would take the opportunity to accelerate their own plans for greater control of their abroad, specifically Taiwan,” Wright told parliamentarians. 

“I would hope with the reaction of the international community, and specifically NATO and the West, that China would have pause for any of their authoritarian plans in the future.” 

China has maintained its claim that the island nation of Taiwan belongs to the mainland government and has recently ramped up military efforts near its airspace. 

Recently, 141 nations at the United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn Putin’s offensive against Ukraine. China was among the 35 states that abstained from casting a ballot on the matter. 

Canada along with other western nations have amassed sanctions targeting the regime of Russian president Vladimir Putin. 

This week, Ottawa also announced that it would prohibit Russian aircraft from entering Canadian airspace. 

“All of Canada is united in its outrage of President Putin’s aggression against Ukraine. In response, we have closed Canadian airspace to Russian-owned or operated aircraft. The Government of Canada condemns Russia’s aggressive actions and we will continue to take action to stand with Ukraine,” said transport minister Omar Alghabra. 

Russian forces have been besieging several key cities in Ukraine including the nation’s capital Kyiv for seven days now. Russian and Ukrainian officials met at the Belarusian border on Thursday to resume peace talks. 

According to reports, the talks ended with an agreement to create a safe corridor to evacuate civilians and for humanitarian efforts.