A Chinese fighter jet came within 10 feet of a US B-52 bomber flying over the South China Sea on Tuesday, the US military said.
USA India said the Chinese pilot “flew in an unsafe and unprofessional manner, demonstrated poor flying by approaching at excessive, uncontrollable speed, and flying under, in front of, and within 10 feet of the B-52, placing both aircraft at risk of collision.” – Pacific Command said in a statement on Thursday. “We are concerned that this pilot was not aware of how close he came to causing the collision.”
News of the latest Chinese objection comes as President Joe Biden is expected to speak with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi When he visits the White House on Friday, CNN reported Thursday. It is not clear whether the meeting will be a formal discussion or an informal meet-and-greet. Wang is also expected to meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Friday.
Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping may also meet on the sidelines of the APEC summit in San Francisco next month, although neither side has confirmed final plans.
The United States and China on Thursday released footage accusing each other of provocative maneuvers in and around the South China Sea, escalating tensions over the disputed waterway.
The Chinese Ministry of Defense issued a video During a regular news conference, she said the aircraft carrier USS Ralph Johnson “conducted close-in harassment” against a Chinese Navy task group conducting routine training in the South China Sea on August 19.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said the video “shows that the American side is the real instigator, risk-taker, and obstructionist.” Wu said the US warship’s actions “endanger China’s national security” and added that China “will take all necessary measures to resolutely protect national sovereignty.”
Eli Ratner, the Pentagon official responsible for security in the Indo-Pacific region, said Advance this month The United States has seen more cases of “coercive and dangerous” behavior Chinese pilots against US aircraft in the past two years over the East China Sea and South China Sea than in the entire decade before that.
“Since fall 2021, we have seen more than 180 incidents like this,” Ratner said. “It is a centralized and coordinated campaign to engage in these risky behaviors in order to force a change in the lawful operational activity of the United States.”
Efforts made by the Pentagon this year to deal with China’s military leadership have gone unanswered, and American officials have grown increasingly concerned about the lack of military dialogue between the two countries. Beijing cut communications after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last year, angering Chinese leaders.
“I have been asking to speak with my counterparts, the commanders of the Eastern and Southern Theater of Operations now, for two and a half years,” Indobacom commander Adm. John Aquilin said earlier this month. “Not one of these applications has been accepted yet.”
As part of its latest National Defense Strategy, the United States referred to China as a “speed challenge,” capable of competing with America in terms of its military might, economic power, and international reach. Beijing already has a standing army of more than a million soldiers, the world’s largest navy by number of ships and the largest air force in the region.
Beijing claims “indisputable sovereignty” over almost the entire South China Sea, and is using its military might to assert its sovereignty claims in disputed waters and beyond, including Taiwan.
In 2022, the Chinese military increased its aggressive actions towards the island, including flying ballistic missiles, flying military aircraft into Taiwan’s air identification zone, and conducting major exercises near Taiwan. Although Xi has said he seeks the peaceful reunification of Taiwan with China, he has not given up on the use of military force to achieve his goal.
This story has been updated with additional details.
CNN’s Kathleen Magramo contributed to this report.
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