U.S. Navy Plane Takes ‘Evasive Action’ to Avoid Chinese Fighter Jet

WASHINGTON — A United States Navy spy plane had to take evasive action to avoid crashing into a Chinese fighter jet that suddenly pulled up in front of the American plane in contested skies above the East China Sea on Sunday, the Pentagon said.

Two Chinese fighter planes intercepted the Navy EP-3 surveillance plane, approaching at high speeds from beneath the American plane, said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

When the planes were only a few hundred feet apart, one of the Chinese planes slowed down and flew directly in front of the Navy plane, prompting the American pilot to take what Captain Davis described as “evasive action.” He said the episode took place in international airspace between the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea, west of the Korean Peninsula.

A number of small islands in the East China Sea are claimed simultaneously by China, Japan and Taiwan, and Beijing has made a policy of disputing the presence of American spy planes that come near disputed islands there as well as those in the South China Sea.

The United States has backed China’s neighbors in challenging those claims, as well as China’s military buildup on disputed islands. American ships and planes often traverse those seas and skies to exercise what the Pentagon has called their right to move through international airspace and waters.

Defense officials said that the United States has complained about the episode to Beijing, but Captain Davis also appeared to take pains to avoid escalating the issue. He made a point of characterizing it as out of the ordinary for China.

“This is uncharacteristic of the normal safe behavior we see from the Chinese military,” Captain Davis told reporters at the Pentagon. “There are intercepts that occur in international airspace regularly, and the vast majority of them are conducted in a safe manner.”

He called Sunday’s encounter “the exception, not the norm.”’

During last year’s presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump labeled President Barack Obama as weak in defending international waters off the coast of China, where Beijing has engaged in a sharp military buildup to reclaim land, install runways and haul equipment onto reefs and shoals it claims as its own. But since taking office, amid mounting tensions with North Korea, the Trump administration has shown deference to Beijing.



(July 24, 2017)

  (May 24, 2016)

The U.S. Air Force's WC-135 Constant Phoenix sniffer plane in a file photo. (Yonhap)

The U.S. Air Force’s WC-135 Constant Phoenix sniffer plane in a file photo. (Yonhap)

An SU-30 fighter jet

An SU-30 fighter jet CREDIT: EPA


China has built islands by reclamation of sand and coral and has militarized them for People’s Liberationa Army (PLA) use. Seen here, Chinese structures and an airstrip on the man-made Subi Reef at the Spratlys group of islands are shown from the Philippine Air Force C-130 transport plane of the Philippine Air Force during the visit to the Philippine-claimed Thitu Island by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Ano and other officials off the disputed South China Sea in western Philippines Friday, April 21, 2017. Philippine President Duterte on Friday, May 19, 2017, described this as “some kind of armed garrison.” Credit Francis Malasig/Pool Photo via AP — China has now occupied and built up by reclamation seven small reefs and atolls that have been made ready for military use.

 (Smart money is on China right now)

FILE - Vietnam People's Navy personnel carry their country's national flag.

 (Contains links to several earlier related stories)

FILE photo p rovided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac —  A Chinese Coast Guard boat approaches Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Scarborough Shoal has always been part of the Philippines, by international law. China says it is happy to control fishing in the South China Sea. Credit: Renato Etac

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For about five years China has been loudly proclaiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea.” China has said, everything north of the “nine dash line” shown here, essentially, belongs to China.  On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China chose to ignore international law.

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One Response to “U.S. Navy Plane Takes ‘Evasive Action’ to Avoid Chinese Fighter Jet”

  1. Brittius Says:

    Reblogged this on Brittius.

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