There was a dramatic airborne flashpoint between China and the United States this week, the Navy Times reports:
The Pentagon says a Chinese fighter jet conducted a “dangerous intercept” of a U.S. Navy aircraft three days ago off the coast of China in international airspace.
The Pentagon press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said Friday that Washington has lodged a protest to China through diplomatic channels.
Kirby said the Chinese jet made several close passes by the Navy P-8 Poseidon plane, coming within 30 feet of it. He said the Chinese jet did a roll maneuver over the top of the Poseidon and also passed across the nose of the Navy plane, exposing the belly of the fighter in a way apparently designed to show that it was armed.
The provocation closely mirrors a 2001 incident in roughly the same location, in which a Chinese plane flew perilously close to a U.S. aircraft and collided with it. The Chinese pilot was killed and the American plane forced to land. And this isn’t even the first recent example of close Chinese flybys ratcheting up diplomatic tensions over the waters of the western Pacific, either. The story is still developing, but the jet’s maneuver looks a lot like a direct affront from an ever more aggressive China.