China jet dangerously close to US plane
The US military said on Thursday that a Chinese fighter jet flew dangerously close to a US Air Force aircraft that was conducting routine operations over the South China Sea on December 21, nearly causing the planes to collide.
The Chinese pilot of a J-11 jet “performed an unsafe manoeuvre,” flying in front and within 20 feet of the nose of a US Air Force RC-135 plane, the US military said in a statement, adding that the American pilot was forced to take “evasive manoeuvers to avoid a collision”.
The US Indo-Pacific Command, which is part of the United States Armed Forces, said in a statement on Thursday that it expected all states in the region “to use international airspace safely and in accordance with international law”.
A spokesperson for the command, referring to China’s People’s Liberation Army by its initials, also said in an email: “We have seen an alarming increase in the number of unsafe aerial intercepts and confrontations at sea by PLA aircraft and vessels.”
In Beijing on Friday, a spokesman for the foreign ministry did not directly respond to the question of whether a Chinese jet had operated in a dangerous way.
The spokesman, Wang Wenbin, instead pointed a finger at the US for conducting reconnaissance on China in the region. “The United States’ provocative and dangerous actions are the root cause of maritime security issues,” Wang told reporters at a routine briefing.
New York Times News Service