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Chinese fighter jet intercepts US aircraft over the South China Sea: Report South China Sea
Image Credit: Wallpaper

Chinese fighter jet intercepts US aircraft over the South China Sea: Report

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 26 Feb 2023, 01:19 pm

A Chinese J-11 fighter jet, equipped with air-to-air missiles, intercepted a US patrol aircraft near the Paracel Islands over the South China Sea, according to media reports.

According to a CNN report, the US Navy P-8 Poseidon was flying at an altitude of 21,500 feet over the South China Sea when the pilot spotted a Chinese fighter jet with a red star on its tail fins and carrying air-to-air missiles.

After approaching to within a few hundred feet of the US aircraft, the Chinese fighter jet escorted it for 15 minutes before eventually veering off.

The US patrol aircraft received a message from China's People's Liberation Army: American aircraft. Chinese airspace is 12 nautical miles away. Not approaching any more or you bear all responsibility.

China asserts ownership of nearly the entirety of the South China Sea and vehemently opposes military operations by other countries within the disputed region. The waterway, which sees the transportation of goods worth $5 trillion annually, remains a contentious issue between China and its neighbours.

China has accused the US of utilizing surveillance aircraft to gather intelligence on its activities and has not responded to US calls for talks on the issue of such potentially hazardous military confrontations.

Paracel Island is a disputed region with China, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan all staking claims.

In recent years, the South China Sea has emerged as a key source of tension between the US and China. The region has become a focal point of geopolitical competition, with both countries asserting their interests and exerting influence within the contested waters.

While the US doesn’t take an official stance on territorial claims on the South China Sea but stresses the freedom of navigation and overflight. Keeping with this policy, the US conducts routine sailings past fortified Chinese installations in the Spratly Islands multiple times each year, eliciting objections from Beijing.

It has also strengthened its military alliance with the Philippines, which has faced encroachment threats from China.

The tensions over the South China Sea come in the midst of a diplomatic row sparked by an incident in which a suspected Chinese spy balloon was downed by a US fighter jet near the coast of South Carolina.

The US claimed that the unmanned balloon was loaded with devices to detect and collect intelligence signals. Contrary to this claim, China asserts that it was merely a weather research airship that had accidentally blown off its path.

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