US Indo-Pacific Command mentioned in an announcement Thursday that the incident occurred December 21 when the Chinese language Folks’s Liberation Military Navy J-11 flew in entrance of and inside 6 metres (20 ft) of the nostril of an RC-135, a sort of enormous reconnaissance aircraft operated by the US Air Force.
The US aircraft was “lawfully conducting routine operations over the South China Sea in worldwide airspace,” the assertion mentioned. Its pilot was compelled to “take evasive maneuvers to keep away from a collision,” it mentioned.
China regularly challenges navy plane from the US and its allies, particularly over the South China Sea, which China claims in its entirety. Such behaviour led to a 2001 in-air collision by which a Chinese language aircraft was misplaced and pilot killed.
“The US Indo-Pacific Joint Power is devoted to a free and open Indo-Pacific area and can proceed to fly, sail and function at sea and in worldwide airspace with due regard for the security of all vessels and plane underneath worldwide legislation,” the assertion mentioned.
“We anticipate all international locations within the Indo-Pacific area to make use of worldwide airspace safely and in accordance with worldwide legislation,” it mentioned.
China deeply resents the presence of US navy property within the South China Sea and often calls for its ships and planes go away the realm. The US says it’s absolutely entitled to function in and over the South China Sea and ignores the Chinese language calls for.
Such harmful incidents persist regardless of US-China agreements on the way to cope with sudden encounters.
The US and others have additionally accused China of harassing navy plane and ships within the East China Sea off the Chinese language coast and as distant because the Horn of Africa, the place China operates a naval base.
There was no quick response from the PLA, the navy wing of China’s ruling Communist Party, to the most recent US criticism.