U.S. Military Plane Intercepted by Chinese Fighter Jets

A U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance plane.
A U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance plane.U.S. Navy via Getty Images, file

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By Courtney Kube and Dartunorro Clark

Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted and one nearly collided with a U.S. military surveillance aircraft in the East China Sea this weekend, U.S. military officials said.

One of the Chinese J-10 fighter jets went below the U.S. Navy EP-3 on Sunday, about 80 miles from Qingdao, and then flew in front of the aircraft, forcing the U.S. reconnaissance jet to take "evasive action" to avoid a collision, officials said.

A U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance planeU.S. Navy via Getty Images, file

U.S. military officials called the event “unsafe,” but have not yet said it was “unprofessional,” as they have with similar past incidents.

The U.S. reconnaissance aircraft was conducting routine operations in international waters, officials said.

There has yet to be a diplomatic response.

The incident follows similar events over the East China Sea earlier this year when Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. sniffer plane and, in a separate incident, intercepted a U.S. surveillance aircraft.