Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby provided details about the incident, which he described as a "dangerous intercept" by a Chinese fighter jet that flew within 20 feet of a U.S. Navy Poseidon P-8 patrol aircraft, conducted a "barrel roll" and showed its underbelly "to make a point of showing its weapons."
"This kind of behavior, not only is unprofessional, it's unsafe."
Kirby speculated the Chinese were apparently trying to block the patrol flight.
The U.S. government filed a formal complaint with the Chinese after the incident. "The message we're sending back to China," Kirby said, "is that's unacceptable and unhelpful to the military relationship that we would like to have with them."
As of Friday, the Pentagon had not yet received a response from China's People's Liberation Army.