US Accuses China of Risky Encounter Over the South China Sea

  • A Chinese fighter jet swerved in front of a US reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea in an “unnecessarily aggressive manoeuvre,” the Pentagon said, part of what a senior American official described as a pattern of more confrontational behaviour in the region.
  • The pilot of the J-16 fighter flew “directly in front of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the U.S. aircraft to fly through its wake turbulence,” according to a statement from the US Indo-Pacific Command. “The RC-135 was conducting safe and routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace, in accordance with international law.”
  • Liu Pengyu, spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington, denounced the US’s frequent “close-in reconnaissance on China,” saying it “poses a serious danger to China’s national security’ He said in a statement that “the US’s provocative and dangerous moves are the root cause of maritime security issues. China urges the US to stop such dangerous provocations, and stop deflecting blame on China.”
  • The risky interaction comes with the two nuclear-armed powers mired in disagreements, from concerns about each other’s military buildup to the Biden administration’s efforts to curb Beijing’s access to advanced semiconductors.

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