A Chinese fighter jet intercepted a US reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea last week and conducted an “unsafe maneuver,” forcing US planes to take evasive action, according to Indo-Pacific Command, the command responsible for overseeing US military operations in the United States. Area.
On December 21, a Chinese Navy J-11 fighter jet flew within 20 feet of the nose of a US Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft, with about 30 people on board. In response, the RC-135 had to take “evasive maneuvers to avoid collision,” Indubacom said in a statement Thursday.
Indubacom said the RC-135 was in international airspace over the South China Sea and was “lawfully conducting routine operations”.
Video of the incident from INDOPACOM shows the J-11 flying off the nose of the RC-135. As the two planes closed in, a defense official said it was “unlikely” that the Chinese plane could maintain a safe visual separation from the larger, heavier American plane, which was maintaining course and speed. The RC-135 then takes evasive action to avoid collision, and descends away from the Chinese aircraft.
The majority of aircraft interactions, including interactions between the United States and ChinaIt is conducted in a safe and professional manner, the official said. But in cases like this one when it is determined to be unsafe, the United States responds through diplomatic and military channels through lines of communication with Beijing.
“We intend to do that in this case,” the official said.
China claims much of the South China Sea as part of its territorial waters, including several islands in the disputed waters, some of which Beijing has militarized.
The United States does not recognize these territorial claims and conducts routine operations there, including freedom of navigation operations through the South China Sea.
“The US Indo-Pacific Joint Force is dedicated to a free and open Indo-Pacific and will continue to fly, sail and operate in international sea and airspace with due regard for the safety of all ships and aircraft under international law,” the statement said.
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