US, Chinese jets in close encounter over South China Sea

SpaceWar.com reports: “A Chinese fighter jet flew dangerously within 20 feet (six meters) of a much larger US air force surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea, the US military said Thursday.

In the December 21 incident, a Chinese Navy J-11 fighter pilot ‘performed an unsafe maneuver during an intercept of a US Air Force RC-135 aircraft,’ the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.

The Chinese pilot flew in front of and within 20 feet of the nose of the US aircraft, ‘forcing the RC-135 to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision,’ it said.

The RC-135, ‘was lawfully conducting routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace,’ the US command said.

The incident came as China has sent increasingly large groups of warplanes out over the sea towards Taiwan in a show of force, as Beijing stiffens its claim of sovereignty over the US-backed, self-ruled island…”

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