Tension in the Pacific: a Chinese fighter approached an American plane that was patrolling the area

File photo of a Chinese J-11 fighter flying near a US Air Force RC-135 aircraft in international airspace over the South China Sea on December 21, 2022 (REUTERS) (US INDO-PACIFIC COMMAND/)

A Chinese military aircraft armed with four missiles made a disturbing maneuver this friday about a US Navy P-8 patrol planeas revealed by various US media.

“American plane, this is the air force of the PLA (People’s Liberation Army, China). It is approaching Chinese airspace. Keep a safe distance or you will be intercepted”, a Chinese ground military station transmitted to the P-8, according to the transcript in newspaper articles. Wall Street Journal and the chains CNN and nbc.

A Boeing P-8 aircraft
A Boeing P-8 aircraft

The CNN reported that journalists from his team were on board the US plane when this incident occurred. According to his reconstruction of the facts, a Chinese J-11 fighter appeared about 500 feet by the left wing of the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft when I was flying over the paracel islandswhich are claimed by both China and its neighbors, before returning to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan.

Apparently the Chinese plane was so close that the team CNN he could see how the pilots turned their heads to observe themand could make out the red star on its tail and the four air-to-air missiles it was armed with.

File photo of an uninhabited island in the disputed South China Sea (REUTERS / Erik de Castro)
Archive photo of an uninhabited island in the disputed South China Sea (REUTERS/Erik de Castro) (Erik de Castro/)

The report states that Lt. Nikki Slaughter, the pilot of the US plane, communicated with the Chinese pilot. “I intend to proceed west. I ask you to do the same, over,” she would have told him. But there was no response from the Chinese military, who it escorted the US aircraft for 15 minutes before withdrawing.

According to the US authorities, encounters like this one over the South China Sea are becoming more frequent and dangerous, as Beijing and Washington intensify their influence campaigns in the Pacific.

Last Wednesday the United States, South Korea and Japan conducted a combined missile defense exercise in international waters of the Sea of ​​Japan. “This exercise demonstrates the commitment to greater trilateral cooperation in responding to the regional security challenges amid an increasingly harsh security environment”, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces said in a statement.

(With information from EFE)

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