On December 21, a Chinese fighter jet approached an American military aircraft at a distance of 20 feet.
The Chinese fighter pilot “made a dangerous maneuver” while flying near to an Air Force plane, according to a statement by US officials.
According to a statement from US Indo-Pacific Command Public Affairs, the Chinese fighter pilot buzzed the American military aircraft while the American pilot was legally operating over the South China Sea.
“On Dec. 21 (China Standard Time), a People’s Liberation Army – Navy J-11 fighter pilot performed an unsafe maneuver during an intercept of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft, which was lawfully conducting routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace. The PLAN pilot flew an unsafe maneuver by flying in front of and within 20 feet of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the RC-135 to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision.” – the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.
The United States Indo-Pacific Joint Force is committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific region and will continue to fly, sail, and conduct operations at sea and in international airspace while giving proper consideration to the safety of all vessels and aircraft as required by international law. The command stated, “We anticipate that all nations in the Indo-Pacific area will use international airspace safely and in compliance with international law.
Unclassified video of the ‘unsafe intercept’ of the US aircraft over the South China Sea was released by US officials.