The U.S. military said Tuesday that a Chinese fighter jet flew aggressively close to a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea, forcing the American pilot to fly through the turbulent wake.
The Chinese J-16 fighter pilot “flew directly in front of the nose of the RC-135,” which was conducting routine operations in international airspace last Friday, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement. It called the Chinese move an » unnecessarily aggressive maneuver.”
U.S. defense leaders have complained that China’s military has become significantly more aggressive over the past five years, intercepting U.S. aircraft and ships in the region. And tensions with China have only grown in recent months over Washington’s military support and sales of defensive weapons to self-governing Taiwan, China’s assertions of sovereignty to the contested South China Sea and its flying of a suspected spy balloon over the U.S.