The U.S. military said that a Chinese fighter jet recently “performed an unsafe maneuver” when it flew 20 feet away from an Air Force plane in an effort to intercept it.
The New York Times reported that the Air Force pilot backed out after being confronted by the Chinese jet, and took “evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision.”
The incident occurred over the South China Sea on Dec 21, where the U.S. was “lawfully conducting routine operations.”
The U.S. military waited several days before notifying the public of the incident, in order to “verify details, obtain and declassify imagery and make proper notifications to other government agencies.”
“We’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of dangerous PLA intercepts of U.S. and allied forces … that were operating lawfully in international airspace over the South and East China Seas,” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in response: “The United States’ provocative and dangerous actions are the root cause of maritime security issues.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: REUTERS
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