The following is an excerpt from rt.com | July 24, 2017 |
A US spy plane flying near the eastern coast of China was intercepted by two Chinese fighter jets and had to change course, US officials said. The surveillance aircraft was flying over international waters between China and South Korea.
The incident took place on Sunday, unnamed US officials told reporters on Monday. An EP-3 ARIES signals intelligence plane was flying about 90 miles (140km) south of the port city of Qingdao, when it was approached by two J-10 interceptors, armed with air-to-air missiles.
One of the Chinese jets flew under the EP-3 and popped up 300 feet (90 meters) in front of the US plane, causing the crew “to take evasive action to avoid collision,” according to one official.
The US Navy described the flight as “a routine mission operating in accordance with international law” up until the “interaction” between the spy plane and the Chinese interceptors.
“While we are still investigating the incident, initial reports from the US aircrew characterized the intercept as unsafe,” said Lieutenant-Commander Matt Knight, Pacific Fleet spokesman. “The issue is being addressed with China through appropriate diplomatic and military channels.”
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