Chinese fighter’s aggressive move dangers collision with US plane

An American surveillance aircraft encountered an “unnecessarily aggressive manoeuvre” by a Chinese fighter pilot over the South China Sea last week, according to the US military. Refund , which the Pentagon claims is indicative of China’s pattern of behaviour, comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing over issues corresponding to Taiwan and an alleged Chinese spy balloon shot down within the United States earlier this yr.
The Chinese aircraft flew directly in front of and within four hundred toes of the nostril of the RC-135 on Friday, forcing the US plane to fly through its wake turbulence, said the Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) in a press release. The RC-135 was conducting secure and routine operations in worldwide airspace over the South China Sea, in accordance with international regulation, the command added.
Declassified video footage shows a fighter plane crossing in entrance of the American aircraft, which may be seen shaking from the resulting turbulence. A senior US defence official stated that there has been an “alarming increase within the variety of dangerous aerial intercepts and confrontations at sea” by Chinese aircraft and ships, actions that “have the potential to create an unsafe incident or miscalculation.”
“We don’t believe it’s done by pilots operating independently,” the official mentioned. “We consider it’s part of a wider pattern.” A related incident involving a Chinese jet and a US RC-135 occurred in December, forcing the American plane “to take evasive manoeuvres to keep away from a collision,” in accordance with INDOPACOM.
The announcement of the latest incident got here a day after the Pentagon revealed that Beijing had declined a US invitation for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to satisfy his Chinese counterpart in Singapore later this week. However, the senior official stated that the timing of the announcement was unrelated to China’s refusal of the invitation, explaining that details about the plane incident “was topic to the US military declassification course of and US diplomatic communication course of.”

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