You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

China vows to respond to U.S. surveillance flights

Aug. 28, 2014 - 04:57PM   |  

Loading Photo Galleries ...

  • Filed Under

BEIJING — China said Thursday it will continue responding to U.S. military surveillance flights off its coast, rejecting American accusations that one of Beijing's fighter jets acted recklessly in intercepting a U.S. Navy plane last week.

Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said China's military would closely monitor U.S. flights and reiterated calls for the U.S. to scale back or end such missions altogether.

"According to different situations we will adopt different measures to make sure we safeguard our air and sea security of the country," Yang said at a monthly news briefing.

China has long complained about U.S. surveillance flights that just skim the edge of China's territorial airspace. However, Yang said such flights this year have become more frequent, are covering a wider area and are coming even closer to the Chinese coast.

U.S. sea and air surveillance missions occur most frequently during Chinese military exercises or weapons tests, raising the risk of accidents and misunderstandings, Yang said.

That was a likely reference to an incident last December in which China accused a U.S. Navy cruiser, the USS Cowpens, of having veered too close to China's sole aircraft carrier in the South China Sea during sea drills. That nearly led to a collision with a Chinese navy ship in the most serious sea confrontation between the two nations in years.

The latest incident also revived memories of the 2001 collision between a Chinese jet and a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft off China's Hainan Island, killing the Chinese pilot and forcing the Navy plane to make an emergency landing on the island.

Yang, however, wouldn't say what distance China considers acceptable, saying only that the U.S. should scale back or end such flights entirely if it wants to avoid potential accidents and build mutual trust.

The Pentagon said that in the Aug. 19 encounter, a Chinese jet made several close passes by the Navy P-8 Poseidon plane, coming within 30 feet (9 meters) of it at one point.

It said that included the Chinese jet doing a "barrel roll" maneuver over the top of the Poseidon a modified Boeing 737 and passing across the nose of the Navy plane apparently to show that it was armed.

The incident took place about 135 miles (220 kilometers) from Hainan, which is home to naval airfields and a highly sensitive submarine base.

Yang rejected U.S. accusations that the Chinese pilot acted in a dangerous and unprofessional manner, saying it was the U.S. that seemed to have little regard for the safety of its personnel.

"China is a developing country. Our aircraft are very precious. The lives of our pilots are even more precious," Yang said. "Compared to countries that ask their pilots to fly down on other countries' door steps, we cherish more the safety of our personnel and equipment."

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Air Force Times

This Week's Air Force Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook