Washington warns China on aircraft interception

Washington warns China on aircraft interception
Sun Aug 24, 2014 16:17:35

Washington has warned China on what it described as “dangerous intercept” of a US Navy plane by a Chinese fighter jet, further calling the aerial encounter a "deeply concerning provocation.”

"We have communicated directly to the Chinese government our objection to this type of action," White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said.

"What we’ve encouraged is constructive military-to-military ties with China, and this type of action clearly violates the spirit of that engagement, and we’ve made our concerns known directly to Beijing," he added.

The Pentagon announced on Friday that a Chinese warplane was conducting a "dangerous intercept" of a US Navy aircraft off the coast of China.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said that Washington has used diplomatic channels to formally protest the Aug. 19 action.

He described the move as “aggressive,” saying it “demonstrated a lack of due regard for the safety and well-being of the US and Chinese aircrews and aircraft.”

The Pentagon said that the US Navy P-8 Poseidon patrol jet was flying a routine mission east of Hainan Island Tuesday when a Chinese J-11 warplane passed directly beneath the plane three times, coming as close as 50-100 feet.

The Chinese jet then came from beneath, passing the US plane at 90 degrees with the belly of the plane — and its weapons payload — on display. Finally, the Chinese jet came within 20 feet of the US plane before doing a barrel roll over the plane.

On Saturday, the Chinese Defense Ministry in a statement denied the Pentagon’s allegation.

The statement called the US characterization "completely groundless," saying the Chinese pilot acted professionally in conducting a routine check.

It also said the United States' frequent short-range reconnaissance missions threatened the safety of both militaries.


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