Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy plane Sunday, with one of the jets flying in a manner the U.S. deemed “unsafe”.
The U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane was flying in international airspace in a routine manner over the East China Sea on Sunday when two Chinese J-10 fighter jets intercepted it, ABC News reported.
During the intercept, one of the J-10s passed under the U.S. EP-3 plane at high speed, slowed, then pulled up in front of the U.S. plane, causing it to “take evasive action” to avoid colliding with the Chinese plane, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said, ABC News reports.
Davis said the Chinese jet’s action was “uncharacteristic” of the usual Chinese military behavior. Intercepts are fairly common, but are usually done in a safe manner, ABC adds.
The jet that acted unsafely came within about 300 feet of the U.S. plane, Reuters reported. The interaction took place about 80 nautical miles from the Chinese city of Qingdao.
In 2001, an intercept of a U.S. spy plane caused a collision that killed a Chinese pilot and led to an emergency landing by the U.S. plane at a Chinese military base on Hainan. Twenty-four U.S. personnel were held in China for 11 days until the U.S. apologized for the incident.
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson recently participated in a video conference with Chinese Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong in which “naval engagements” and North Korea were both discussed, according to CNN.