Pentagon Blasts ‘Unsafe’ Intercept by Chinese Fighter Jet

The Pentagon has complained to the Chinese government after an armed Chinese fighter jet intercepted a Navy aircraft this week, the Pentagon said Friday.

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Defense Department's top spokesman, said the U.S. jet, a P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft, was on a routine mission Tuesday over the South China Sea in international airspace when the Chinese jet made three passes, one of them with "only 50 to 100 feet separation." Kirby said the jet made one pass with its belly toward the P-8 "to make a point of showing its weapons load-out." Kirby called the Chinese pilot's behavior "pretty aggressive and very unprofessional" and said the U.S. has "registered our concerns very strongly to official diplomatic channels with the Chinese."

"This kind of behavior not only is unprofessional, it's unsafe, and it is certainly not keeping with the kind of military-to-military relations that we'd like to have with China," he said.


— M. Alex Johnson