US military says Chinese J-17 intercepts RC-135 in ‘unsafe’ maneuver
By Dylan Malyasov
The United States Indo-Pacific Command has accused a Chinese fighter jet of engaging in an “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” while intercepting a U.S. military reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the South China Sea.
“A People’s Republic of China J-16 fighter pilot performed an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver during the intercept of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft, May 26, 2023,” the military said in a release.
According to a press release, the Chinese pilot flew directly in front of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the U.S. aircraft to fly through its wake turbulence.
The RC-135 was conducting safe and routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace in accordance with international law.
“The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate – safely and responsibly – wherever international law allows, and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Joint Force will continue to fly in international airspace with due regard for the safety of all vessels and aircraft under international law,” said in a statement.
China claims the entire South China Sea as its sovereign territory despite overlapping maritime claims with several regional countries.