by WorldTribune Staff, July 24, 2017
A Chinese fighter jet flew close enough to a U.S. Navy spy plane that the U.S. plane had to “take evasive action to avoid a collision,” U.S. officials said.
Two officials told Fox News that two armed Chinese J-10 jets flew dangerously close to a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane flying in the East China Sea on July 23.
One of the J-10 jets flew under the American EP-3 jet and then maneuvered within 300 feet in front of the U.S. plane, one official said.
Both Chinese fighter jets were armed with air-to-air missiles, according to the officials.
The incident, which occurred roughly 90 miles south of the Chinese port city of Qingdao in the East China Sea, came just days after U.S. Navy Adm. John Richardson called his Chinese counterpart to discuss possible next steps in putting pressure on North Korea.
The July 23 incident was the first reported unsafe interaction between China and the U.S. Navy in the air near China since a similar incident occurred off the coast of Hong Kong in late May, the officials said.
Earlier this month, a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed near a contested island in the South China Sea that is claimed by China. It was the second time since President Donald Trump took office the U.S. Navy conducted what it calls a “freedom of navigation” operation.