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China defends intercepting US Navy plane


By JACK CHANG

BEIJING (AP) -- China's Defense Ministry rejected U.S. accusations that a Chinese fighter jet's intercept of a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft off the southern Chinese coast was dangerous, and blamed Washington for mounting large-scale and frequent close-in reconnaissance operations.

Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said the Chinese pilot conducted operations that were "professional and the Chinese jet kept a safe distance from the U.S. planes."

He called the U.S. accusations "groundless" in a statement issued Saturday night, and said that China was conducting "routine identification and verification" flights.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby gave a different account Friday of the Aug. 19 encounter about 135 miles (220 kilometers) east of China's Hainan Island. He said the Chinese jet made several close passes by the Navy P-8 Poseidon plane, coming within 30 feet (9 meters) of it at one point.

Kirby said that included the Chinese jet doing a "barrel roll" maneuver over the top of the Poseidon - a modified Boeing 737 - and passing across the nose of the Navy plane apparently to show that it was armed. Kirby said the Chinese jet's maneuvering posed a risk to the safety of the U.S. air crew and was "inconsistent with customary international law."

He said it was the fourth such incident since March of "close intercepts" involving Chinese jets.

The Chinese statement also said that a Navy P-3 Orion, an anti-submarine and surveillance aircraft, flew alongside the Poseidon. The Pentagon did not mention the second aircraft.

Tensions between the two countries have risen in the South China Sea, as China disputes territorial claims with U.S. ally the Philippines, Vietnam and other neighbors.

In 2001, a Chinese jet collided with a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft off Hainan Island, killing the Chinese pilot and forcing the Navy plane to make an emergency landing on the island. Washington severed military relations with China after that episode.

In the latest encounter, Yang blamed "the large-scale and highly frequent close-in reconnaissance by the U.S. against China" as "the root cause of accidents endangering the sea and air military security between China and the United States."

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Thomas August 24 2014 at 7:44 AM

During my 23 years in the USAF, I flew countless reconnaissance missions in an RC-135 in that theater and others. We've had the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Russians, Libyans and other come out and take a look at us. Only the Libyans were foolish enough to fire upon us. We returned 2 days later and our Navy escorts blew one of their jets out of the sky and chased another one back to Tripoli. Never had a problem after that. Bottom line is that this is a non story. It happens all the time. We do the same to their recon birds along our coast and Alaska.

Flag Reply +46 rate up
12 replies
coopdabomb August 24 2014 at 7:49 AM

Another slap in the lawn jockey obamas face. It happens at least once a week now. You wanted him, you got him.

Flag Reply +35 rate up
19 replies
tsr5112 August 24 2014 at 7:47 AM

And just think. We are paying them to do that. We just finnel the money through Wal-Mart and K-Mart,etc.

Flag Reply +29 rate up
7 replies
skydrop007 August 24 2014 at 7:39 AM

China defends their actions like Obama defends his, with rhetoric.

Flag Reply +25 rate up
5 replies
KEN August 24 2014 at 7:46 AM

Close encounters like this one happen all the time and have for decades. We skirt the border of an 'unfriendly,' and their fighter jocks pull close-in stunts. I'm pretty sure that if Chinese planes skirted the boundaries of our territorial waters, we'd have fighters making close encounters with them too. It's saber-rattling all around and a minor squabble at best. Nothing very consequential will come of this incident.

Flag Reply +23 rate up
3 replies
ram4131 August 24 2014 at 8:50 AM

So the Chinese buzzed one of our spy planes. Get over it. If one of theirs came that close to the US, .............

Flag Reply +19 rate up
3 replies
muffychops August 24 2014 at 7:46 AM

In yo face Obummer! Now back to the golf courase and smile...

Flag Reply +17 rate up
5 replies
Jose August 24 2014 at 7:44 AM

Since we are hypocrites and we do not follow any international law, I do not see the problem

Flag Reply +16 rate up
5 replies
rothhammer1 August 24 2014 at 7:34 AM

So, quit sending them copies of 'Top Gun.'

Flag Reply +14 rate up
3 replies
sothrnirsh August 24 2014 at 7:48 AM

Where's "MAVERICK" and "GOOSE" when you need 'em.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
4 replies
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