Referring to the “aggressive” intercepts from Chinese military aircraft and vessels including a close encounter between a Chinese fighter jet and a US military plane in international airspace over the South China Sea last week, US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby on Tuesday called the increased interceptions by China in the air and at sea as “unprofessional”.
“These are intercepts. Air and maritime intercepts happen all the time,” he said.
“The difference [between US and China] is, we do it when we feel like we need to do it, it’s done professionally and it’s done inside the international law, and it’s done in accordance with the rules of the road,” Kirby added.
Speaking about the recent interceptions, the US revealed a video of a Chinese fighter pilot’s “unnecessarily aggressive manoeuvre” on May 26 during an intercept of a US Air Force RC-135 aircraft on Tuesday, according to Standard Media.
“These that you saw recently, and they have happened with more frequency than we’d like, not all of them are unsafe and unprofessional, but these two were,” he added.
“You saw in the air interceptions, They forced our aircraft, an RC 135, to basically go through the jet wash. You saw the bump in the cockpit. That shows you how close that Chinese fighter was to our jet,” he said.
“And in the maritime intercept in the Taiwan Straits, 100 and 5141 hundred and 50 yards. Speaking as an old sailor myself, I’ll tell you, that’s pretty close when you’re open waters like that,” he said in a White House press briefing on Tuesday.
He warned that Chinese military “aggressiveness” responsible for near collisions with US forces at sea and in the air may soon lead to casualties.
US defence officials have warned of an “alarming increase” in aggressive intercepts from Chinese military aircraft and vessels, following a close encounter between a Chinese fighter jet and a US military plane in international airspace over the South China Sea last week, Standard Media reported.
These “risky” intercepts have the “potential to create an unsafe incident or miscalculation,” according to two US defence officials who discussed the incident under the condition of anonymity.
The Chinese pilot “flew directly in front of and within 400 feet (122 metres) of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the US aircraft to fly through its wake turbulence,” according to a representative for Indo-Pacific Command, which coordinates US military operations in the area.
Standard Media said that the spokesperson claimed the US plane was “conducting safe and routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace, in accordance with international law” when the intercept took place.
In a statement, Indo-PACOM (Pacific Command) urged all nations to use international airspace safely and in line with international law, adding that the US “will continue to fly, sail, and operate, safely and responsibly, wherever international law allows.” (ANI)