BEIJING, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- China suggested the United States end its reconnaissance flights near Chinese territory, and denied Pentagon claims that a plane made dangerous passes at a U.S. Navy plane.
A Chinese fighter plane intercepted a U.S. Navy Poseidon patrol plane and came within 20 feet, the U.S. Department of Defense said, on Aug. 19, as the U.S. plane was 135 miles east of the South China Sea island of Hainan. A Pentagon spokesman called the maneuver "pretty aggressive, very unprofessional," and the fourth incident of its kind this year.
Yang Yujun, a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman said Thursday the United States should take "concrete measures" to stop surveillance flights if relations between the two countries are to improve, adding, "On the one hand, the U.S. expressed their willingness to deepen a military-to-military relationship with China, but on the other hand, they are reluctant to give up these frequent close-in reconnaissance activities against China."
Yang accused the United States of spying on Chinese training exercises, saying: "These behaviors of U.S. military ships and aircraft could easily cause misperception and miscalculation or even air and sea accidents. Therefore we do urge the U.S. side to decrease these close-in reconnaissance activities against China towards a complete stop."