A Chinese fighter jet flew dangerously close (about twenty feet) to a US Air Force reconnaissance aircraft over the Sea of China Southern, US military sources reported on Thursday.
In the incident, which occurred on December 21, a Chinese pilot aboard a J-11 fighter jet “executed an unsafe maneuver by intercepting a United States Air Force RC-135 aircraft,” the Indo-Pacific Command said. US forces in a statement.
The Chinese pilot flew in front of and about twenty feet from the nose of the US aircraft “forcing the RC-135 to take evasive actions to avoid a collision,” the text added.
The RC-135 “was conducting routine actions lawfully in international airspace over the South China Sea,” the command said.
The incident comes as China has sent ever-larger groups of warplanes over the sea in the direction of taiwan in a show of force and as Beijing hardens sovereignty claims over the US-backed self-rule island.
Last week, China conducted overflights with 71 military aircraft, including dozens of fighter jets, in military exercises around Taiwan, one of the largest moves ever launched by Beijing by deploying military aircraft to the island’s air defense identification zone. .
The People’s Liberation Army said it had carried out a “mock attack” on Sunday in response to unspecified “provocations” and “collusion” between the United States and Taiwan.
According to the AFP database, there have been more than 1,700 such raids this year, compared with 969 in 2021. Taiwan’s defense ministry said about 380 were registered in 2020.
The United States has provided Taiwan with military aid and advanced technologies to defend against a possible Chinese invasion.