South China Sea: US says Chinese jet intercepted US spy plane in ‘unnecessary aggressive maneuver’



CNN

A Chinese fighter jet conducted an “unnecessary aggressive maneuver” when it intercepted a US spy plane in international airspace. South China Sea last week, the US military said in a statement on Tuesday.

A Chinese J-16 fighter jet clipped directly in front of the nose of a US RC-135 Rivet joint reconnaissance aircraft on May 26, forcing the US aircraft to fly through the interceptor’s wake. A video of the incident released by the U.S. military shows the turbulence as the U.S. plane disrupts its flight path.

The US Indo-Pacific Command said the RC-135 was conducting “safe and routine operations” in international airspace.

“The United States will continue to fly, travel and operate where international law allows – safely and responsibly – and the US Indo-Pacific Joint Force will continue to fly in international airspace with due regard for the safety of all ships and aircraft. International law,” INDOPCOM’s statement said.

China’s foreign ministry on Wednesday rejected the assertion of aggressive behavior, instead accusing the US of posing a “serious danger” to China by frequently sending planes and ships to spy on China.

“America’s provocative and dangerous moves are the root cause of maritime security issues. China urges the United States to stop such dangerous provocations,” spokesman Mao Ning said during a regular briefing in Beijing.

“China will continue to take necessary measures to resolutely defend its sovereignty and security,” he added.

Relations between the two countries have been strained following former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-governing island of Taiwan last August and the US decision to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon over US military bases in February.

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CNN reported that America is looking for High quality arrangement Senior officials visited China to re-engage on substantive issues with Beijing but on Monday the Pentagon said China Rejected a proposal Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to meet his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu at the Shangri-La Dialogue Security Forum in Singapore this week.

A defense official told CNN Monday that China’s rejection of a U.S. offer to meet “is far from the first time the PRC has rejected invitations to engage” from defense officials.

“Apparently, this is the latest in a series of excuses. Since 2021, the PRC has refused or failed to respond to more than a dozen Defense Department requests for major leader engagements, several requests for standing dialogues and nearly ten working-level engagements,” the official said.

China’s Defense Ministry pushed back on such characterizations on Wednesday, saying the country “prioritises” developing US-China military ties and said there would be “no interruption” in the relationship. Blames Washington For disrupting communication.

However, another senior US defense official said on Tuesday that China’s interception of a US spy plane in international airspace was being addressed “through appropriate, established diplomatic and military channels”.

is interception Like another meeting between US and Chinese military aircraft in late December. A Chinese Navy J-11 fighter jet intercepted another RC-135 Rivet joint in the South China Sea in what the US called an “unsafe maneuver”. The Chinese fighter jet came within 20 feet of the nose of the U.S. spy plane, forcing the larger, heavier U.S. plane to make evasive maneuvers, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said at the time.

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Video of the incident from INDOPACOM showed the J-11 flying off the nose of the RC-135. The J-11 appeared to move close to the American jet before the two planes moved separately.

According to an INTOPACOM spokesperson, the United States has seen an alarming increase in the number of dangerous aerial interceptions conducted by Chinese aircraft. Chinese aircraft have become more aggressive, approaching US and allied aircraft, prompting concerns about an unsafe incident or miscalculation.

Over the past several years, the South China Sea has emerged as a major flash point in the Asia Pacific. According to the China Power Project Center for Strategic and International Studies, the strategic waterway not only holds vast resources of fish, oil, and gas, but one-third of global shipping passes through it—worth about $3.4 trillion in 2016.

China claims historic jurisdiction over nearly the vast sea, and since 2014 has built small shoals and sandbars on artificial islands heavily fortified with missiles, runways and weapons systems — prompting outcry from other claimants.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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