A Chinese fighter pilot “performed a dangerous maneuver” while near a US Air Force plane, US officials said Thursday.
The US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the fighter pilot flew ahead of and within 20 feet of the nose of the RC-135 aircraft the US pilot was flying on December 21, 2022.
The American pilot was flying legally over the South China Sea, the command said, but was forced to “take evasive action” to avoid a collision. No pilot has been identified.
“The United States Indo-Pacific Joint Force is dedicated to a free and open Indo-Pacific region and will continue to fly, navigate and operate at sea and in international airspace with due regard to the safety of all vessels. and aircraft under international law,” the officials said. “We expect all countries in the Indo-Pacific region to use international airspace safely and in accordance with international law.”
Video of the incident was shared by command, and the brief clip shows the Chinese aircraft approaching the US aircraft before the pilot began evasive maneuvers.
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