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Monday, February 26, 2024

Pentagon Reports ‘Unprofessional Intercept’ of U.S. Aircraft Over South China Sea Ahead of Trilateral Maritime Exercise

The U.S. Coast Guard, Japan and the Philippines will hold a trilateral maritime exercise in the South China Sea later this week.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) has reported that a People’s Republic of China (PRC) J-16 fighter pilot performed an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver during the intercept of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft on May 26, 2023. 

The statement said that 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 RC-135 was conducting safe and routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace, in accordance with international law,” USINDOPACOM continued.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Japan and the Philippines will hold a trilateral maritime exercise in the South China Sea later this week. Tensions have risen in the region again this year, with the U.S. offering support to the Philippines in particular following a blocking incident in February.

The USINDOPACOM statement noted that 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,” USINDOPACOM concluded.

Read the full statement and watch the video of the incident at USINDOPACOM

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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