China releases video showing PLANAF J-11 intercepting USAF RC-135V and says the Rivet Joint engaged in dangerous maneuvers against its fighter aircraft

China releases video showing PLANAF J-11 intercepting USAF RC-135V and says the Rivet Joint engaged in dangerous maneuvers against its fighter aircraft

By Dario Leone
Jan 3 2023
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The Chinese military has accused the US of engaging in “dangerous maneuvers” and “seriously violating” international law as per a statement released by Senior Colonel Tian Junli, a spokesperson of the PLA Southern Theater Command.

A Chinese People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF) J-11 fighter jet intercepted a US Air Force RC-135 (actually RC-135V #64-14842) Rivet Joint electronic intelligence aircraft in an incident over the South China Sea on Dec. 21, 2022, US Indo-Pacific Command said last week.

The US has accused the PLANAF fighter jet of “unsafe and unprofessional” behavior in a INDOPACOM statement;

“On Dec. 21 (China Standard Time), a People’s Liberation Army – Navy J-11 fighter pilot performed an unsafe maneuver during an intercept of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft, which was lawfully conducting routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace. The PLAN pilot flew an unsafe maneuver by flying in front of and within 20 feet of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the RC-135 to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision.”

The Chinese military, however, has accused the US of engaging in “dangerous maneuvers” and “seriously violating” international law as per a statement released on Dec. 31 by Senior Colonel Tian Junli, a spokesperson of the PLA Southern Theater Command.

“It was a US RC-135 spy plane that engaged in dangerous maneuvers against a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy J-11 fighter jet which was monitoring the US aircraft during the latter’s close-in reconnaissance over the South China Sea, and the US intentionally misled the public,” Tian said.

The PLA Southern Theater Command released the following video documenting the incident.

As reported by Global Times, the RC-135 conducted intentional close-in reconnaissance on China’s southern coastline and the Xisha Islands of Hainan, South China’s Hainan Province on Dec. 21. The PLA Southern Theater Command organized aerial forces to conduct tracking and monitoring through its entire course, Tian said.

Despite multiple warnings from the Chinese side, the US aircraft suddenly altered its flight stance, pushed the Chinese aircraft toward left in a dangerous approach movement, which seriously compromised the flight safety of the Chinese military aircraft, severely violated the Rules of Behavior for Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters between China and the US as well as related international law and practices, Tian said.

“The US side intentionally misled the public, called black white, blamed on China while itself is to be blamed and attempted to confuse international opinion,” he said. We sternly require the US to restrain the movements of its frontline maritime and aerial forces, strictly abide by related international laws and related agreements and prevent maritime and aerial accidents,” Tian said.

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Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson from the China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement:

“China urges the US to stop such dangerous provocations, and stop deflecting blame on China. China will continue to take necessary measures to resolutely defend its sovereignty and security, and work with regional countries to firmly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.”

By contrast US IDOPACOM said in its statement:

“The U.S. Indo-Pacific Joint Force is dedicated to a free and open Indo-Pacific region and will continue to fly, sail and operate at sea and 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.”

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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