A U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane flying in the East China Sea on Sunday afternoon was buzzed by a pair of armed Chinese fighter jets, nearly causing a “collision,” according to U.S. officials who spoke to Reuters as unnamed sources because they “were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.”
“One of the Chinese J-10 jets flew under the American EP-3 jet and maneuvered suddenly, popping up 300 feet in front of the U.S. plane and causing the [US] EP-3 to take evasive action to avoid collision,” according to the report, which noted that both Chinese fighter jets were armed with air-to-air missiles.
The incident took place approximately 90 miles south of the Chinese port city of Qingdao in the East China Sea.
Just prior to the incident, Navy officer Adm. John Richardson called his counterpart in the Chinese military to talk about the next possible move in their joint effort to pressure North Korea regarding the rogue regime’s missile and nuclear weapons programs.
A similar incident occurred between China and the U.S. Navy off the coast of Hong Kong in earlier this year in late May.
And earlier this month, in a show of force, the Navy sailed a guided-missile destroyer near an island in the South China Sea that was falsely claimed by China.
Since President Trump was elected into the White House, the Navy has twice conducted these “freedom of navigation” operations on behalf of the surrounding countries of Vietnam and Taiwan, which also have rights to sail through the area.
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