China accuses US of ‘slander and hype’ over air incident

Lazy eyes listen


The Pentagon’s account of last week’s air incident over the South China Sea involving a Chinese military jet and a US spy plane ignores the truth and is “pure slander and hype,” according to Beijing’s Defense Ministry.

The US Indo-Pacific Command claimed on Friday that a Chinese J-11 fighter approached a US Air Force RC-135 aircraft to within six meters, forcing the American pilot to perform an evasive maneuver. It also released a video of the December 21 incident, which showed the two planes flying close together.

Late Saturday, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Tian Julin rejected the US accusations, claiming that it was the American plane that was performing “dangerous maneuvers.”

“The US side purposefully misled the public, called black white, blamed [this] on China when [the US] is to blame, and attempted to confuse international opinion,” he said.

According to the spokesman, the Chinese pilot acted professionally and in accordance with all laws and regulations. Despite multiple warnings, however, the US aircraft abruptly changed its flight stance, endangering the Chinese jet’s flight safety, he added.

The Defense Ministry also released video of the incident captured by the Chinese jet. The clip “showed the US RC-135 intentionally altering its flight stance in a dangerous approach toward the Chinese aircraft,” according to China’s state-run Global Times newspaper.

“We sternly demand that the United States restrain the movements of its frontline maritime and aerial forces, strictly adhere to related international laws and agreements, and prevent maritime and aerial accidents,” Tian said.

The US insists that its warships and planes have been and will continue to conduct lawful patrol missions in international waters and airspace in the South China Sea.