The US military has revealed that a Chinese jet came dangerously close to a US bomber earlier this week over the South China Sea.
The revelation, offered by the US Indo-Pacific Command in a statement Thursday, comes as part of what American officials have described as increasingly risky behavior by Chinese military aircraft.
The US military blasted both the pilot and maneuver, saying that it unnecessarily put both pilots at risk – citing footage that shows the Chinese J-11 jet coming within 10 feet of the B-52 aircraft Tuesday.
Officials also said the U.S. Air Force B-52 had been lawfully conducting routine missions over international waters in the South China Sea when the Chinese jet identified approached ‘at excessive speed.’
The People’s Republic of China pilot then ‘flew in an unsafe and unprofessional manner, demonstrated poor airmanship by… flying below, in front of, and within 10 feet of the B-52, putting both aircraft in danger of collision,’ the statement said.
The US military has revealed that a Chinese jet came dangerously close to a US bomber over the South China Sea on Tuesday
The twin-engine J-11 jet fighter that is operated by the People’s Republic of China (File photo)
The Chinese J-11 fighter jet came just feet away from colliding with a US B-52 bomber flying over the South China Sea, according to US military officials
‘We are concerned this pilot was unaware of how close he came to causing a collision,’ officials said – indicating the incident was likely an accident.
Earlier this month, the Pentagon said Chinese military aircraft have carried out maneuvers close to US planes nearly 200 times since 2021 – fueling already heightened tensions between Beijing and Washington.
Just last week, China’s defense ministry shot back at those claims, insisting in a statement that the Pentagon’s criticism of its aerial intercepts was a premeditated smear on China – one with ulterior political motives.
Relations between China and the United States have already been tense, and the recent close-calls have not helped.
The friction between the world’s two largest economies – over everything from Taiwan and China’s human rights record to its military activity in the South China Sea – has threatened to end the nations’ tempestuous relationship altogether, and multiple wars currently raging overseas have added to the unrest
That said, Washington has still expressed a desire to revive military-to-military communications with China.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi began a long-anticipated visit to Washington Thursday, as the US and China seek to manage deep strategic differences and pave the way for an expected summit between President Joe Biden and his counterpart Xi Jinping.
Yesterday, during a dinner at the White House, Biden warned visiting Australian prime minister Anthony Anthony Albanese to be cautious trusting China – as Australia also seeks to repair relations with the communist nation.
There has been growing tensions between the United States and the People’s Republic of China in the South China Sea area in recent years
The revelation, offered by the US Indo-Pacific Command in a statement Thursday, comes as part of what American officials have described as increasingly risky behavior by Chinese military aircraft
Officials also said the US Air Force B-52 had been lawfully conducting routine missions over international waters in the South China Sea when the Chinese jet identified approached ‘at excessive speed’
Earlier this month, the Pentagon said Chinese military aircraft have carried out maneuvers close to US planes nearly 200 times since 2021
The President made the comments during Albanese’s visit to Washington DC this week, days before the Prime Minister visits Beijing.
Biden was asked at a joint press conference with Albanese if he believed Australia should trust China given its history with economic sanctions, cyber-attacks, surveillance and human rights abuses.
‘Trust but verify is the phrase,’ the President responded.
‘China is having their own internal and external difficulties right now.
‘China’s economic growth is stagnant compared to what it was. China has engaged in activities, that Russia and many others have engaged in, in terms of intimidation with other countries.’
Biden also warned China about its recent harassment of Philippine vessels in the South China Sea.
‘Any attack on Filipino aircraft, vessels or armed forces will invoke our mutual defense treaty with the Philippines,’ he said.
‘I want to be very clear. The United States defense commitment to the Philippines is ironclad.’
In 2021, President Biden established a trilateral security alliance named AUKUS, involving Australia and Britain.
This partnership allows the United States to provide Australia with nuclear technology, which will be used to power traditionally armed Australian submarines.
President Biden said he was ‘confident’ Congress would fund AUKUS.
‘It’s overwhelmingly in our interest,’ he said.’
‘When…we put together the deal, I was asked by Xi Jinping were we just trying to surround China. I said, ‘No, we’re not surrounding China. We’re just making sure that the sea lanes remain open.’
‘He doesn’t get to unilaterally be able to change the rules of the road in terms of what constitutes international airspace and water space, et cetera. And so, that’s what this is all about.’
Earlier during the visit, Biden said China’s leader had asked him why the US was ‘working so hard’ with Australia.
‘I said, ‘because we’re a Pacific nation’,’ President Biden said.
‘We are, and we’re going to stay that way.’