At least two Chinese J-11 fighter jets have carried out intercept of U.S. EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the South China Sea.
The Chinese jets came within 50 feet of the U.S. aircraft at one point during the incident, which took place Tuesday, the official said.
However, Beijng said the EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft flew close to China’s island province of Hainan and its jets “kept a safe distance throughout, without taking any dangerous actions.”
“It needs to be pointed out that American aircraft have constantly entered China’s coastal waters conducting reconnaissance, which has posed a serious threat to China’s maritime and air safety,” Hong Lei, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, said at a regular press briefing Thursday.
“We hereby ask the U.S. immediately to stop these actions so as to avoid the recurrence of such incidents,” he added.