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China Rejects U.S. Claims That Fighter Menaced Navy Plane

China’s Defense Ministry condemned U.S. claims that a Navy aircraft was threatened by a Chinese fighter jet over the South China Sea this week, calling the accusation “totally groundless.”

U.S. Defense Department spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said a Chinese fighter jet intercepted a Navy P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft in international airspace, making a pass between 50 to 100 feet away and said the fighter banked “to make a point of showing its weapons load-out.” Yang Yujun, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense said the J-11 fighter was on patrol and only approached to verify the aircraft’s identity and that its pilot was “professional” and kept a close distance.

Yujun accused the U.S. of conducting frequent close-in reconnaissance missions near China, and said those flights could lead to accidents between the two countries, and called on the U.S. to stop conducting reconnaissance flights near its borders.

IN-DEPTH

— Phil Helsel