(Bloomberg) — Australia said one of its surveillance planes was cut off by a Chinese fighter jet in international airspace over the South China Sea in the latest encounter between the militaries of the two countries.
The RAAF P-8 aircraft was undertaking routine maritime surveillance activity on May 26 when it was intercepted by a J-16 fighter aircraft that “resulted in a dangerous maneuver which posed a safety threat” to the P-8 and its crew, the Department of Defence said in a statement Sunday.
The J-16 fighter had flown “very close to the side” of the P-8 aircraft, Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles said at a press conference Sunday.
“In flying close to the side, it released flares, the J-16 then accelerated and cut across the nose of the P-8, settling in front” at very close range, he said. “At that moment, it then released a bundle of chaff which contains small pieces of aluminum, some of which were ingested into the engine of the P-8 aircraft. Quite obviously, this is very dangerous.”
The Department of Defence made representations to the Chinese authorities, Marles said, expressing concern particularly at the manner in which the safety of the Australian aircraft and crew had been placed in jeopardy.
He said Australia, like other countries, has for decades undertaken maritime surveillance in the South China Sea, in accordance with international law.
The incident follows one in February when a Chinese navy vessel sailing through the Arafura Sea shone a laser at an Australian reconnaissance plane. Then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison branded it an “act of…
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