Chinese jets 'unsafely' intercept US spy plane: Officials
Iran Press TV
Fri May 26, 2017 9:42PM
Chinese fighter jets have intercepted an American "surveillance" aircraft near Hong Kong, US officials say, days after a US navy warship challenged China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.
The incident occurred on Wednesday, when two Chinese jets flew within 200 yards of a US P-3 Orion plane that was flying 150 miles southeast of Hong Kong.
American military officials said one of the jets moved to the front of the spy plane in an "unsafe and unprofessional" manner, restricting its ability to maneuver.
According to ABC News, the US was going to raise the issue with China through diplomatic channels.
The development was announced only a day after a US Navy warship sailed close to a disputed South China Sea island controlled by Beijing, the first such operation under new US President Donald Trump.
The last mission was carried out in October, after being authorized by Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.
The USS Dewey guided missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, according to several US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity on Wednesday.
A Chinese frigate tailed the American warship during the operation, while two other Chinese vessels were in vicinity, according to US officials.
The move drew fire from China, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang saying that the US Navy warship's "trespassing" was a breach of China's "indisputable sovereignty."
"We urge the US to correct this mistake and stop taking further actions so as to avoid hurting peace and security in the region and long-term cooperation between the two countries," Lu said Thursday.
China's Defense Ministry also warned Washington that such actions would "only motivate the Chinese military to enhance its capacity."
Washington claims the operations are aimed at preventing Beijing from limiting "freedom of navigation" in the disputed waters, which act as a gateway for over $5 trillion in annual maritime trade.
Trump attacked Beijing during last year's presidential campaign for militarizing parts of the South China Sea, stealing American jobs with unfair trade policies and manipulating its currency in its favor.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|