At least two Chinese J-11 fighter jets have carried out intercept of U.S. EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the South China Sea.
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The Chinese jets came within 50 feet of the U.S. aircraft at one point during the incident, which took place Tuesday, the official said.
However, Beijng said the EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft flew close to China’s island province of Hainan and its jets “kept a safe distance throughout, without taking any dangerous actions.”
“It needs to be pointed out that American aircraft have constantly entered China’s coastal waters conducting reconnaissance, which has posed a serious threat to China’s maritime and air safety,” Hong Lei, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, said at a regular press briefing Thursday.
“We hereby ask the U.S. immediately to stop these actions so as to avoid the recurrence of such incidents,” he added.