REPORT: Chinese Fighter Jets Intercept U.S. ‘Radiation-Sniffing’ Aircraft

Tensions continue to rise after a pair of Chinese fighter jets intercept an American radiation-sniffing surveillance plane over the East China Sea, the U.S. Air Force announced Friday.

Multiple media outlets have reported that the two Chinese SU-30 jets approached a U.S. aircraft– WC-135 Constant Phoenix–on Wednesday as it was conducting a routine test to “sniff” the atmosphere for nuclear activity, in accordance with international law, said officials.

The WC-135’s crew described the intercept as unprofessional “due to the maneuvers by the Chinese pilot, as well as the speeds and proximity of both aircraft,” Pacific Air Forces spokeswoman Lt. Col. Lori Hodge said in a statement. However, officials did not specify whether the confrontation was considered unsafe,

The pair of Chinese SU-30s fighter jets “flew within 50-70 feet of the WC-135’s right wing tip, then one of the SU-30s did a barrel roll over top of the American plane,” says the report.

Hodge issued the following statement on the incident:

“We would rather discuss it privately with China,” she said in an email to The Associated Press. “This will allow us to continue building confidence with our Chinese counterparts on expected maneuvering to avoid mishaps.” She also added the issue would be addressed with China through “appropriate diplomatic and military channels.”

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