• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 10:06am

Chinese jet ‘flew within 10 metres of US plane’

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 August, 2014, 2:37am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 August, 2014, 10:36am

A Chinese fighter jet flew perilously close to a US military aircraft this week in a “very dangerous” incident in international air space east of Hainan Island, the Pentagon said.

The episode raised tensions and underlined the growing rivalry between the United States and China, with Beijing building up its military and asserting its territorial claims across the Pacific.

"On August 19, an armed Chinese fighter jet conducted a dangerous intercept of a US Navy P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft that was on a routine mission,” spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told a news conference.

The close call occurred about 135 miles (220 kilometres) east of China’s Hainan, he said.

“We have registered our strong concerns to the Chinese about the unsafe and unprofessional intercept, which posed a risk to the safety and the well-being of the air crew and was inconsistent with customary international law,” Kirby added.

The move also threatened to jeopardise longstanding US efforts to bolster relations with China’s military, he said, at a time when officials have touted progress in forging a dialogue with Beijing’s top brass.

The armed Chinese warplane SU-27 came close to the surveillance aircraft three times, flying underneath the American plane, at the P-8’s nose and then in parallel with the wingtips, less than 30 feet (10 metres) apart, according to Kirby.

In approaching the P-8, the Chinese jet at one point performed a barrel roll, apparently to display its weapons.

“The Chinese jet also passed the nose of the P-8 at 90 degrees with its belly toward the P-8 Poseidon, we believe to make a point of showing its weapons load,” Kirby said.

The intercept was “very, very close, very dangerous.”

The skies over Hainan Island were the scene of a major international incident in April 2001, when a Chinese fighter jet collided with a US Navy EP-3 spy plane.

The collision left one Chinese pilot dead and forced the American plane to make an emergency landing on Hainan. Chinese authorities initially detained the 24-member American crew for more than a week until both governments worked out a face-saving deal for their release.

Washington and Beijing have long disagreed over aviation and maritime rights in the strategic South China Sea, with the Americans insisting the area is part of international waters and airspace.

But China argues it is part of the country’s “exclusive economic zone.”

US naval ships in the area have had some tense encounters with Chinese vessels in recent years, with the Pentagon alleging their warships had to take emergency evasive action to avoid collisions at sea.

Last week, China accused the United States of fueling tensions in the South China Sea and has rejected a US proposal for a multilateral deal that would seek to freeze provocative actions in the region.

Beijing claims the area almost in its entirety and is at locked in territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam and other neighboring states.


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This article is now closed to comments

M Miyagi
The US pivot to Asia is just to increase conflicts and instability. US provocations and spying against China shouldn't be tolerated by the Chinese. If China were to do the same in the US backyard what would the US response be? It's time the US stops being an aggressor otherwise it will face a lot of unnecessary problems that will make the US into a big failure.
I Gandhi
The US bully is capable of bullying the defenceless only. When it meets up against people that is capable of defending themselves, these mongrels will run with their tails behind their legs.
US government is evil. They will manufacture lies to attack other countries far away from their own shores. They make use of western media to make others appear like the aggressor. Gulf of Tonkin incident? WMD in Iraq?
"unarmed, slow flying P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft in International airspace takes real courage"
FYI, the P-8 is a spy plane and it is in the EEZ claimed by China. You are right that it takes "real courage" to stand up to the 800# gorilla.
"Wonder why the Chinese fighters never fly close to US fighter aircraft". US could easily sent their fighter jets up to the P-8 area and I also wonder why not?
"manufactured with stolen technology", I think these are Russian made SU-27 with "no" stolen technology from US.
This is another "er ren xian gao zhuang"- the offender is first to complain.
What was the spy plane p-8 doing in China's EEZ?
FYI, US's EEZ is the largest in the world - The United States' exclusive economic zone covering 11,351,000 km2 and are located in three oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea from wikipedia - ****en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusive_economic_zone.
As jenniepc below pointed out, would US not scramble their fighter jets if China's spy plane entered US's EEZ?
Who provokes whom? I do not think that we, the U.S. would not send U.S. warplanes against any Chinese aircraft if said China sends Chinese Surveillance aircrafts within 135 miles of any US territory.
Jennie PC Chiang江佩珍 08/22/14 美國
M Miyagi
The US claims it's a dangerous incident!!! How very funny. Why is the US provoking China by conducting such surveillance near China's coast? The US is a hypocritical war-monger. The US acts like a rapist crying RAPE! How shameful.
From the report, it seems that the skills of Chinese pilots have improved by leaps and bounds since the 2000. They are now confident in performing a series of aerial stunt which more than makes the US pilots sweat. Why else the protest?
What would you do if a man known to be hostile to you keeps snooping outside your garden, and on being warned, insolently said he had a right to do that because he was in the public street? Best way is to point a gun at him without actually shooting.
This piece of news article reminds me one of the scenes in the 1986 movie 'Top Gun' (directed by the late director, Tony Scott). Tom Cruise was controlling his F-14 flying around a Soviet MIG and did all sorts of 'dangerous maneuver'. He even took a Polaroid of the MIG pilot! 28 years passed, surprisingly PLA paid such a Hollywood styled tribute to the US Navy. The only difference is that, this is not a show.
When the Chinese PLA starts flying surveillance aircraft near the coast of Guam or Hawaii, can the Americans please give an undertaking not to allow their own jets to get too close to the Chinese aircraft?



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