The US warns of an 'alarming increase' in aggressive Chinese intercepts

U.S. defense officials are warning of an "alarming increase" in aggressive intercepts from Chinese military aircraft and vessels following a close encounter between a Chinese fighter jet and a U.S. military plane in international airspace over the South China Sea last week. China blames the U.S. for the incident, saying the aircraft was conducting "close-in reconnaissance on China" that was "seriously threatening China's sovereignty and security." 

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An international court ruling in The Hague held that China had no historic title over the South China Sea, but Beijing has ignored the decision. The U.S. frequently conducts operations in and above the South China Sea to challenge territorial claims and promote free passage through international waters. 


Beijing has claimed every feature in the South China Sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam also claim certain islands in the sea as part of their territory. The annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore is an informal gathering of defense officials and analysts.


U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart, Defense Minister General Li Shangfu, are scheduled to speak on Saturday and Sunday. China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed the two defense leaders would not meet this week, saying the U.S. should respect China's sovereignty and security interests and create the necessary atmosphere and conditions for dialogue and communication between the two militaries. Li has been under U.S. sanctions since 2018 over the purchase of combat aircraft and equipment from Russia's main arms exporter, Rosoboronexport.

Reported By Aero-News Journal

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