Beijing has called on Washington to halt its surveillance flights over the East China Sea after Chinese jets intercepted a US surveillance plane in the region.
The US spy plane was intercepted by aChinese fighter jet over the East China Sea during Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Beijing. It is the second incident involving US spy aircraft over the Chinese-claimed space in less than a month.
Hong Lei, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said: “The United States continues close reconnaissance activity, which significantly undermines China’s security at sea. This is what causes the problem. We urge the United States to stop this activity and prevent such incidents in the future” He added that China reserves its right to carry out self-defense measures.
On Tuesday, US officials said a Chinese J-10 fighter jet intercepted a US plane flying over the East China Sea, in an “unsafe manner.”
The US Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft was flying above the sea when it was approached by the jet with a “high rate of speed as it closed in” up to 100 feet (30 meter), noted an unnamed US official.
The incident occurred as US Secretary of State John Kerry was in the Chinese capital for talks on trade deals and regional stability.
Earlier, Kerry announced that the USwould deem China’s establishment of an air defense zone over the region as a “provocative and destabilizing act.”
“Let’s not resolve this by unilateral action; let’s resolve this through rule of law, through diplomacy, through negotiation. And we urge all nations to find a diplomatic solution, rooted in international standards and rule of law,” he added.
Another “unsafe” intercept was reported in mid-May, when two Chinese J-11 tactical aircraft confronted a US EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea.
China has on multiple occasions called on the US to stop close reconnaissance activities but tensions appear to be escalating between the two powers.
The US has been accused of taking provocative measures around China particularly in the South China Sea, which is already gripped by a regional dispute over territory.
Washington accuses Beijing of carrying out what it calls a land reclamation program in the South China Sea by building islands in disputed areas. China, however, accuses the US of meddling in the regional issues and deliberately stoking tensions there.