US says Chinese jets ‘unsafely’ intercepted surveillance plane

Pentagon says P-3 Orion was buzzed over South China Sea, but defence ministry in Beijing says its fighters flew safely

Two Chinese SU-30 fighter jets take off from an unspecified location to fly a patrol over the South China Sea.
Two Chinese SU-30 fighter jets take off from an unspecified location to fly a patrol over the South China Sea. Photograph: Jin Danhua/AP

Two Chinese fighter jets buzzed a US navy surveillance plane over the South China Sea on Wednesday, with one coming within 180 metres (200 yards) of the American aircraft, according to US officials.

The officials said initial reports showed that the US P-3 Orion surveillance plane was 150 miles (240km) south-east of Hong Kong in international airspace when the Chinese aircraft carried out the “unsafe” intercept. One Chinese aircraft flew in front of the American plane, restricting its ability to manoeuvre.

“We continue to review the facts of this incident and will convey our concerns through appropriate channels with the Chinese government,” said Pentagon spokesman Commander Gary Ross.

China’s defence ministry said on Sunday that the US account of the interception was inaccurate. It argued the jets flew in a professional and safe manner, and chastised the US military to avoid risky encounters and respect the Chinese military’s resolve to protect the country’s sovereignty and security.

China is deeply suspicious of any US military activity around its coastline, especially in the resource-rich South China Sea, parts of which are disputed by China and its smaller neighbours including the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.

A US navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles (22km) of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, US officials said on Wednesday, in the first such challenge to Beijing in the strategic waterway since Donald Trump became president.

Incidents such as Wednesday’s interception are not uncommon. Earlier in May two Chinese SU-30 aircraft intercepted a US aircraft designed to detect radiation while it was flying in international airspace over the East China Sea.

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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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