China warplane in ‘dangerous’ intercept with US jet

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Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby answers questions at the Pentagon August 22, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia. Kirby commented on the current situation in Iraq, Ukraine, and the recent interception of a U.S. aircraft by a Chinese fighter jet over international waters. Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby answers questions at the Pentagon August 22, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia. Kirby commented on the current situation in Iraq, Ukraine, and the recent interception of a U.S. aircraft by a Chinese fighter jet over international waters. Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP

WASHINGTON: A Chinese fighter jet flew perilously close to a US military aircraft this week in a “very dangerous” incident in international air space east of Hainan Island, the Pentagon said on Friday (Saturday in Manila).

The episode raised tensions and underlined the growing rivalry between the United States and China, with Beijing building up its military and asserting its territorial claims across the Pacific.

“On August 19, an armed Chinese fighter jet conducted a dangerous intercept of a US Navy P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft that was on a routine mission,” spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told a news conference.

The close call occurred about 135 miles east of China’s Hainan, he said.


“We have registered our strong concerns to the Chinese about the unsafe and unprofessional intercept, which posed a risk to the safety and the well-being of the air crew and was inconsistent with customary international law,” Kirby added.

The move also threatened to jeopardize longstanding US efforts to bolster relations with China’s military, he said, at a time when officials have touted progress in forging a dialogue with Beijing’s top brass.

The armed Chinese warplane came close to the surveillance aircraft three times, flying underneath the American plane, at the P-8’s nose and then in parallel with the wingtips, less than 30 feet (nine meters) apart, according to Kirby.

In approaching the P-8, the Chinese jet at one point performed a barrel roll, apparently to display its weapons.

“The Chinese jet also passed the nose of the P-8 at 90 degrees with its belly toward the P-8 Poseidon, we believe to make a point of showing its weapons load,” Kirby said.

The intercept was “very, very close, very dangerous.”

The skies over Hainan Island were the scene of a major international incident in April 2001, when a Chinese fighter jet collided with a US Navy EP-3 spy plane.

The collision left one Chinese pilot dead and forced the American plane to make an emergency landing on Hainan.

Chinese authorities initially detained the 24-member American crew for more than a week until both governments worked out a face-saving deal for their release.

Washington and Beijing have long disagreed over aviation and maritime rights in the strategic South China Sea, with the Americans insisting the area is part of international waters and airspace.

But China argues it is part of the country’s “exclusive economic zone.”

US naval ships in the area have had some tense encounters with Chinese vessels in recent years, with the Pentagon alleging their warships had to take emergency evasive action to avoid collisions at sea.

Last week, China accused the United States of fueling tensions in the South China Sea and has rejected a US proposal for a multilateral deal that would seek to freeze provocative actions in the region.

Beijing claims the area almost in its entirety and is at locked in territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam and other neighboring states.

AFP

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4 Comments

  1. go ahead make our day!… the mighty US 7th fleet with embarked air wing stationed in Japan, Hawaii, Guam and San Diego, will handily engage and sink your “brown water navy” before they can even go that far in the eastern pacific. US Strategic long range bombers, pre-positioned in Japan, Diego Garcia and Guam can easily reach and deliver mother of all bombs into mainland china. Chinese missiles can only reach Japan and Okinawa at best. If they hit or provoke Japan, it will be another Chinese worst nightmare cause Japan is more than capable of taking on China.

  2. The world can no longer remain silent on what is going on in South China Sea/west Philippine Sea, relative to China’s conflict with its neighbors. This territorial conflict might trigger a war between the US vs. China because Japan and Philippines are US allies.. The world must know the issues to be able to voice their opinion, because China is not going to listen to anybody nor follow the UN International law of the sea. Most likely China will listen to the voice of the world. As the President of China said, that the war with the United states will be a disaster. The world citizens must pray, we all must pray, that the belligerence of China against Japan, Philippines and Vietnam will not trigger a global catastrophe.

    • Just wonder what the reaction would be by USA if a Chinese air force plane was swooping and indeed snooping 135miles off the coast of Florida – all hell would break loose! Has anyone asked why USA is there? can only be for spying, right?

    • China is absolutely right. War with US is a disaster. A disaster for china, an “asean bully”, a paper tiger which can only pick on small and military weakling neighbors. We know that Japan, US and Europeans does not even know or recognize china’s ridiculous territorial and air space claim in the Pacific. Remember when china declared a bogus “nine-dash” line and that all air space inside belong to them?….the US within hours, flew a strategic bomber from Guam over this air space and declared that US and Japan do not recognize this bogus claim! China act like a “Chihuahua” confronted by a “Pitbull”. Prayer may not be a good strategy for belligerent Chjna…show of force is!