The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said on Tuesday that a Chinese fighter performed an unprofessional maneuver against a U.S. military plane in the South China Sea on Friday. Image courtesy Indo-Pacific Command
May 31 (UPI) -- The Pentagon said Tuesday that a Chinese J-16 fighter pilot performed "an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver" against a U.S. Air Force plane operating in the South China Sea last week.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command stated that an Air ForceRC-135 operating in international waters on Friday was intercepted by a Chinese fighter.
"The PRC pilot flew directly in front of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the U.S. aircraft to fly through its wake turbulence," the command said. "The RC-135 was conducting safe and routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace, in accordance with international law."
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command released a video on Twitter that it said was the J-16 fighter flying in front of the RC-135.
"The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate -- safely and responsibly -- wherever international law allows, and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Joint Force will continue to fly in international airspace with due regard for the safety of all vessels and aircraft under international law.
"We expect all countries in the Indo-Pacific region to use international airspace safely and in accordance with international law."
The Global Times, a publication controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, blamed the United States for the incident, citing experts who alleged the United States was pushing the idea of a "China threat."
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said the United States should stop holding close-in reconnaissance operations in China, stating that China would continue to act to protect its sovereignty.