US accuses China of 'unprofessional' intercept of radiation sniffing plane

Miranda GreerMay 20, 2017

In what was termed as an "unprofessional" move, two Chinese Sukhoi Su-30 jets intercepted the US Air Force's radiation detection plane flying over the East China Sea on Wednesday (17 May).

"U.S. military aircraft routinely transit worldwide airspace throughout the Pacific, including the East China Sea", Hodge said.

"Distances always have a bearing on how we characterize interactions", Hodge said.

Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted an American military plane over the East China Sea, media in the United States have reported, citing U.S. officials.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying declined to comment on the specific incident and referred questions to the defense ministry which has yet to comment. "The US is concerned over China's clear statement that it is its region and it controls it", the military analyst told Sputnik. A spokesman for United States Pacific Command called that incident "unsafe", according to DefenseNews.

The planes have been used in the past to collect evidence of nuclear tests conducted by North Korea, according to CNN.

She further reiterated that the radiation detection aircraft was carrying out a routine mission and was operating in accordance with worldwide law.

In February, a Chinese early warning aircraft and U.S. Navy patrol plane had an "unsafe" encounter over the South China Sea, again over worldwide airspace.

Unexpected and unsafe intercepts involving USA and Chinese military aircraft have occurred occasionally over the South China Sea, which China claims virtually in its entirety. While Phoenix was performing a regular mission in global airspace over the East China sea.

There are long-running territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas.

It is noted that this American plane detects radioactive isotopes in the atmosphere, which are signs of nuclear testing.

The Air Force has two WC-135s operating out of Offutt. "Chinese military pilots consistently carry out operations in accordance with the law and the rules, and are professional and responsible".

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