US says Chinese fighter jets fly dangerously close to US planes

The US military said on Thursday that a Chinese fighter jet flew dangerously close to a US Air Force aircraft conducting routine operations over the South China Sea on May 21. 12, nearly causing the two planes to collide.

The Chinese pilot of the J-11 jet “performed an unsafe maneuver,” flying in front of and within 20 feet of the nose of the US Air Force RC-135, US military said in a statement, adding that the US pilot was forced to perform “evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision.”

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, a division of the United States Armed Forces, said in a statement Thursday that it expects all countries in the region to “use airspace.” international affairs in a safe manner and in accordance with international law”.

A spokesman for the command, which refers to the People’s Liberation Army by initials, also said in an email: “We have seen an alarming increase in the number of incidents. unsafe aerial interception and sea confrontations by PLA aircraft and ships.

“Therefore, this latest incident reflects a disturbing trend of unsafe and dangerous PLA interception activities that deeply concerns the United States.”

As to why the US military waited eight days to make the encounter public, another spokesman wrote: “Disclosure of this type takes time to verify details, gather and declassify images, and give appropriate notice to other government agencies”.

A day after the encounter, US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that it was “closely monitoring” China’s military activities in the South China Sea, the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea. East Flower. And it stressed that it continues to “oppose any military or coercive pressure on our allies and partners in the region.”

China has long claimed sovereignty over islands in the disputed South China Sea. In a 2015 speech in Singapore, China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, said that the islands had been under Chinese control “since ancient times” and that China “must be held accountable”. responsibility to protect its territorial sovereignty and legitimate maritime interests”.

Beijing has become more assertive in recent years, building military infrastructure at sea and sending ships and planes close to islands claimed by both Japan and China. Earlier this year, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken called China the biggest challenger to the international order and said the United States would work with its allies to rein in its aggressive actions.

Australia and Canada, both US allies, recently accused the Chinese military of carrying out unsafe intercepts in the Pacific waters. In June, Chinese jets repeatedly came close to a Canadian plane that was monitoring North Korea, sometimes getting so close that the pilots could see each other. In May, the Australian government said a Chinese plane fired flares, cutting across the front of an Australian plane and spewing debris containing metal used to launch rockets.

In response, Colonel Tan Kefei, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense, said in a statement that Australia had “seriously threatened China’s sovereignty and security”.

Colonel Tan added: “It is the Australian side that has confused black and white, spreading false information many times, inciting hostility and confrontation.

Taiwan, an autonomous island long claimed by Beijing, also says that China has sent an unprecedented number of military aircraft – at least 71 fighter jets, maritime patrol aircraft and aircraft. drones – near their territory this month, days after President Biden extended support for Taiwan.

The episodes led to fatal collisions. In 2001, a Chinese fighter jet collided with a US Navy surveillance plane over the South China Sea, killing the Chinese pilot and forcing the US plane to make an emergency landing on Hainan Island.

The Chinese government detained 24 American crew members for more than a week, only to release them after the US ambassador to China sent an apology letter.


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