US, Chinese military planes in ‘close encounter’ over West PH Sea – Report

  • A US and Chinese military plane reportedly figured in a close encounter over the West PH Sea
  • The aircrafts came within 1000 feet (305 meters) of each other
  • Both Chinese and US government vowed to look into the incident

MANILA, Philippines – A US reconnaissance aircraft and a Chinese military plane reportedly came ‘inadvertently’ close to each other while patrolling over Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

The close encounter was confirmed to Reuters by a US official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The source said such incident rarely happen and there were only two of such kind last year.

The two aircraft reportedly came within 1000 feet (305 meters) of each other over one of the hotly-contested island in the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, the US Pacific command said the U.S. Navy P-3 plane was “on a routine mission operating in accordance with international law.”

“On Feb. 8, an interaction characterized by U.S. Pacific Command as ‘unsafe’ occurred in international air space above the South China Sea, between a Chinese KJ-200 aircraft and a U.S. Navy P-3C aircraft,” the statement read.

“The Department of Defense and U.S. Pacific Command are always concerned about unsafe interactions with Chinese military forces,” the US command said; adding that the issue will be addressed in an appropriate diplomatic and military channels.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government also acknowledged the incident but insisted their pilot responded with “legal and professional measures”.

“We hope the U.S. side keeps in mind the present condition of relations between the two countries and militaries, adopts practical measures, and eliminates the origin of air and sea mishaps between the two countries,” the Global Times, a Communist party-backed publication, quoted a defense ministry official as saying.