MILCOM — China on Thursday ordered the U.S. to end its surveillance patrols around the contested South China Sea region after the Pentagon said Chinese fighter jets “buzzed” a U.S. military reconnaissance plane in an “unsafe manner” earlier this week.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei Hong told reporters that the U.S. military’s reconnaissance missions “seriously endanger Chinese maritime security,” according to Reuters.
“We demand that the United States immediately cease this type of close reconnaissance activity to avoid having this sort of incident happening again,” Hong added.
A U.S. defense official told Reuters that two Chinese J-11 fighter jets flew within 50 feet of the U.S. EP-3 aircraft. The official reportedly told the news agency that the incident occurred near the Hainan island.
Tuesday’s incident comes a week after a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed within 12 miles of China’s Fiery Cross reef, an artificial island made after months of dredging operations, more proof that tensions in the region are escalating between two global powers.
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