A Chinese warplane flew within ten meters of a US Air Force spy plane in the disputed China Sea, forcing it to maneuver to avoid a collision in international airspace, according to the US military..us
The close call comes in the wake of what the United States said were the most dangerous recent actions by Chinese aircraft.
According to US military sources, the December 21 incident involved a Chinese Navy J-11 fighter jet and a US Air Force RC-135.
“The United States Joint Indo-Pacific Force, dedicated to a free and open country in the Indo-Pacific, will fly, navigate and operate at sea and in international airspace to protect all ships and aircraft in accordance with international law.” The US military said in a statement.
“We count on all international locations withinside the Indo-Pacific vicinity to apply worldwide airspace thoroughly and according to worldwide law..”
A US military official told Reuters that US planes had to maneuver when the Chinese fighter was only 20 meters from its nose but 10 meters from its wings.
Another American official said the U.S. would not be able to do so. Large swaths of the South China Sea claimed by China are exclusive economic zones of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.
Every year, billions of dollars worth of trade, including vast amounts of natural gas and fisheries, are carried through the waterway.
US military officials have long worked to negotiate with their Chinese counterparts to reduce the number of explosions.
A Chinese warplane intercepted an Australian military surveillance plane in May over the South China Sea, the Australian Department of Defense said in June.
Australia says the Chinese plane passed too close to the RAAF plane and left behind a “straw packet” containing small pieces of aluminium, which fell into the engine.
Canada also said in June that Chinese aircraft were harassing its patrol planes while monitoring North Korea’s efforts to evade sanctions, and that Canadian aircraft sometimes strayed from its flight path.