A pair of Chinese fighter jets intercepted a US Navy spy plane over the East China Sea on Sunday, with one coming within about 300 feet (91 meters) of an American aircraft, two US officials told Reuters on Monday.
The US officials, who are remaining anonymous, said the initial reports showed one of the Chinese J-10 aircraft came close enough to US EP-3 plane on Sunday, that the American aircraft was forced to change direction. One of the Chinese J-10 jets flew under the American EP-3 jet and maneuvered suddenly, popping up 300 feet in front of the U.S. plane and causing “the [US] EP-3 to take evasive action to avoid collision,” one official said.
Earlier this month, the US Navy sent a guided-missile destroyer near a Chinese island in the South China Sea. It was the second time since US President Donald Trump took office the US Navy conducted what it calls a “freedom of navigation” operation.
Such provocative actions by the US Navy will indeed strain the already heightened tensions between the US and China in territories controlled by China.