An incident between a Chinese fighter jet and an American reconnaissance aircraft has occurred over the South China Sea. The U.S. Pacific Command on Tuesday accused a Chinese pilot of an "unnecessarily aggressive" interception maneuver.
The incident had already occurred last Friday. The American RC-135 aircraft carried out a "safe and routine operation over the South China Sea in international airspace," according to the US Pacific Command.
The Chinese pilot flew his fighter plane right under the nose of the American plane, forcing it to fly through the wake vortex of the Chinese fighter jet. These are invisible turbulences that can be dangerous for following aircraft.
"We expect all countries in the Indo-Pacific region to use international airspace safely and in accordance with international law," it added. The United States also released a video of the incident.
China claims virtually the entire South China Sea for itself. However, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also claim territories there. The United States and China's neighbors accuse Beijing of increasing militarization of the region.
The International Court of Arbitration in The Hague rejected the territorial claims in 2016. China, however, is ignoring the ruling. Relations between the United States and China are at an all-time low. Above all, China's backing for Russia's war in Ukraine, its claims in the South China Sea or the unchanged trade war with reciprocal punitive tariffs are causing controversy.