US accuses China of ‘aggressive maneuver’ over South China Sea

Washington/Beijing, May 31 (EFE).- The United States has accused China of an “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” by a fighter plane to intercept an American spy aircraft over the South China Sea.

China dismissed the allegation that the move was aggressive behavior, saying it will continue taking “necessary measures to defend its sovereignty and security.”

According to a US Indo-Pacific Command (Usindopacom) statement on Tuesday, the Chinese J-16 fighter flew close to the US RC-135 plane on May 26.

The Chinese pilot “flew directly in front of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the US aircraft to fly through its wake turbulence,” the statement said.

“The RC-135 was conducting safe and routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace, per international law.”

The Chinese foreign ministry defended the move, accusing the US of posing a “danger” to China by deploying spy aircraft and vessels in the region.

Foreign affairs spokesperson Mao Ning said the US reconnaissance operations had been going on for a long time, violating Chinese security and sovereignty and triggering “maritime security issues.”

“China urges the US to stop such dangerous provocations,” Mao told reporters.

The Usindopacom also published videos of the incident.

The US military vowed to “continue to fly, sail, and operate – safely and responsibly – wherever international law allows.”

“We expect all countries in the Indo-Pacific region to use international airspace safely and in accordance with international law.”

Tensions between the US and China soared after the North American country detected a suspected Chinese spy balloon over its territory at the end of January and shot it down over the Atlantic on Feb. 4.

On Monday, the Pentagon announced that China had rejected a US proposal for an in-person meeting this week between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart, Li Shangfu, on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. EFE


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