Beijing denies intercepting US ‘sniffer plane’ over Yellow Sea

China says its aircraft were acting ‘in accordance with the law’ when they approached the American WC-135 plane

A US WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft can detect signs of nuclear activity.
A US WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft can detect signs of nuclear activity. Photograph: HANDOUT/Reuters

China has denied US allegations that two of its fighter jets intercepted an American “radiation-sniffing” plane earlier this week, saying that its aircraft were acting “in accordance with the law”.

“Related remarks from the US side are inconsistent with fact,” the Chinese defence ministry said in a statement posted to its website late on Friday.

“On 17 May, a US reconnaissance aircraft was carrying out an operation in airspace over the Chinese Yellow Sea (the northern part of the East China sea), and Chinese aircraft acted to identify and investigate in accordance with the law,” the statement said, calling the action “professional” and “safe”.

The US air force said in an earlier statement on Friday that its plane, a WC-135 Constant Phoenix, was conducting a “routine mission” in international airspace when it was intercepted by two Chinese Sukhoi SU-30 fighter aircrafts.

The WC-135 is a so-called “sniffer plane” designed to scan the atmosphere for signs of nuclear activity.

“The WC-135 was operating in accordance with international law. While we are still investigating the incident, initial reports from the US aircrew characterised the intercept as unprofessional,” the US air force said.

Mid-air interceptions occur routinely in international airspace, but the US military will often call out foreign pilots if it judges the manoeuvres to be risky or unprofessional.

Meanwhile, China urged the US to halt such reconnaissance exercises in order to prevent future incidents.

“The American military’s frequent reconnaissance operations are the root cause of security issues between the Chinese and US navy and air forces,” the Chinese defence ministry’s statement said.

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This entry was posted in Biển Đông (SCS), US - China relationship - Liên hệ Mỹ Trung and tagged , , , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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