On Thursday, a duo of Chinese J-10 fighter jets flew within several hundred feet of a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion over the South China Sea.
U.S. officials reported that the fighters flew 200 yards in front of the P-3 maritime surveillance aircraft with an altitude separation of only 100 feet. “The aircrew deemed the intercept unsafe and unprofessional,” said U.S. Navy spokesman Gary Ross. “Operations were able to continue unimpeded.”
The incident occurred 150 miles southeast of Hainan Island in the South China Sea, where Chinese jets reportedly weaved ahead of the American plane, causing concern from the U.S. pilot.
Navy officials are planning on addressing the incident with the Chinese government to demand immediate answers for the reckless maneuver.
On the same day, the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Dewey sailed within 12 miles of Mischief Reef in the South China Sea, conducting a Freedom of Navigation Operation by the artificial island made and owned by China.
According to the U.S. military, the Freedom of Navigation Operations is a global effort to ensure free and open waterways under international law. The Trump administration supports the operations.
Mischief Reef is one of the man-made islands that China designed in the Spratly Islands chain. It supports airstrips and facilities that could be used by China’s military.
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