China vows to respond to US surveillance flights| BREAKING NEWS
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China said on Thursday that it will continue responding to US military surveillance flights off its coast, rejecting American accusations that one of Beijing’s fighter jets acted recklessly in intercepting a US Navy plane last week.
Defense ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said China’s military would closely monitor US flights and reiterated calls for the US to scale back or end such missions altogether.
“According to different situations we will adopt different measures to make sure we safeguard our air and sea security of the country,” Yang said at a monthly news briefing.
China has long complained about US surveillance flights that just skim the edge of China’s territorial airspace. However, Yang said such flights this year have become more frequent, are covering a wider area and are coming even closer to the Chinese coast.
US sea and air surveillance missions occur most frequently during Chinese military exercises or weapons tests, raising the risk of accidents and misunderstandings, Yang said.
That was a likely reference to an incident last December in which China accused a US Navy cruiser, the USS Cowpens, of having veered too close to China’s sole aircraft carrier in the South China Sea during sea drills. That nearly led to a collision with a Chinese navy ship in the most serious sea confrontation between the two nations in years.
The latest incident also revived memories of the 2001 collision between a Chinese jet and a US Navy surveillance aircraft off China’s Hainan Island, killing the Chinese pilot and forcing the Navy plane to make an emergency landing on the island.
Yang, however, wouldn’t say what distance China considers acceptable, saying only that the US should scale back or end such flights entirely if it wants to avoid potential accidents and build mutual trust.
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