Watch: US and Chinese Aircraft Get Uncomfortably Close

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A Chinese fighter jet buzzed a US Air Force reconnaissance plane, causing it to suffer turbulence, according to the Wall Street Journal. You can watch the video here:

The South China Sea is a particularly fraught area due to China’s extensive unrecognized land claims that would increase its air defense zone. A US defense official declared that this was part of a wider pattern of Chinese aggression in the South China Sea, East China Sea, and Taiwan Straits. Similar incidents have occurred in the last few years, where US spycraft operate in the global commons but are aggressively tracked by unskilled Chinese pilots, leading to potentially catastrophic collisions.

On April 1, 2001, a similar but graver incident occurred where a US Navy EP-3 reconnaissance craft was in a disputed airspace in the South China Sea, leading it to be intercepted and colliding with a Chinese fighter aircraft. It made an emergency landing on Chinese soil, where the American crew was detained and interrogated before being released following diplomatic negotiations.


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