WASHINGTON: The United States has said that a Chinese J-11 fighter jet flew dangerously close to a US Air Force reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea, forcing the US plane to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a mid-air collision.
“On December 21 (China Standard Time), a People’s Liberation Army – Navy J-11 fighter pilot performed an unsafe maneuver during an intercept of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft, which was lawfully conducting routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace,” US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) said in a statement.
“The PLAN pilot flew an unsafe maneuver by flying in front of and within 20 feet of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the RC-135 to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision,” the statement added.
The US military said it is dedicated to a free and open Indo-Pacific region and will continue to fly, sail and operate at sea and in international airspace with due regard for the safety of all vessels and aircraft under international law.
“We expect all countries in the Indo-Pacific region to use international airspace safely and in accordance with international law,” the statement added.
China frequently challenges military aircraft from the US and its allies, especially over the South China Sea, which China claims as its own, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.
According to ABC News, China deeply resents the presence of US military assets in the South China Sea and regularly demands its ships and planes leave the area.
On the other hand, the US states it is fully entitled to operate in and over the South China Sea. (ANI)