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Chinese Jets Intercept U.S. Plane in ‘Unsafe’ Incident

WASHINGTON — Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. surveillance aircraft a couple hundred miles southeast of Hong Kong this week in a maneuver the Navy described as “unsafe.”

The Chinese J-10 fighter aircraft flew about 200 yards in front of the U.S. Navy P-3 Orion on May 24, making quick and erratic turns and restricting the plane's ability to maneuver, one official said. One of the Chinese jets came within 100 feet of the U.S. plane.

"The aircrew deemed the intercept unsafe and unprofessional," U.S. Navy Commander Gary Ross said in a statement Friday. "Operations were able to continue unimpeded. We continue to review the facts of this incident and will convey our concerns through appropriate channels with the Chinese government."

The incident follows a similar event over the East China Sea last week when two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. sniffer plane. A WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft was conducting a routine mission over international airspace when two Sukhoi Su-30 fighter aircraft intercepted it.

Officials called that incident “unprofessional.”

Image:  A U.S. Navy P-3 Orion performs a flyover in Hawaii
A U.S. Navy P3 Orion performs a flyover on Jan. 20, 2012 in Ka'upulehu-Kona, Hawaii. Chris Condon / US PGA TOUR via Getty