U.S. Chinese aircraft have ‘unsafe’ encounter over South China Sea

Overland Aircraft

Chinese and U.S. military aircraft flew within 300 metres of each other near contested territory in the South China Sea, the US military publication Stars and Stripes reported Friday.

A U.S. Navy P-3C model surveillance plane and a Chinese KJ-200 early-warning aircraft had an “unsafe” encounter on Wednesday, a US Pacific Command spokesman told Stars and Stripes.

“The Department of Defense and US Pacific Command are always concerned about unsafe interactions with Chinese military forces,” the Pacific Command statement said.

“We will address the issue in appropriate diplomatic and military channels.”

The U.S. aircraft was flying over international airspace near Scarborough Shoal, a territory controlled by China and claimed by the Philippines, when it encountered the Chinese plane, Stars and Stripes reported.

Scarborough Shoal is a disputed reef that China seized from the Philippines in 2012 after a standoff.

Filipino boats were again allowed to fish around the shoal after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Beijing in October.

Territory in the South China Sea is being contested by seven nations in the region, including China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei. (dpa/NAN)


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