The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (Indubacom) announced Tuesday in a statement that a Chinese fighter jet made an “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” while intercepting a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the South China Sea last week. released a video clip showing an incident where a Chinese J-16 fighter jet flew in front of an American RC-135 Rivet aircraft, forcing the American plane to change course. Indubacom said the US aircraft was operating “safe and normal” in international airspace.
“The United States will continue to fly, sail and operate safely and responsibly wherever international law allows, and forces will continue to fly in international airspace with due regard to the safety of all ships and aircraft present in accordance with international law.” she added.
Notably, the South China Sea has emerged in recent years as a potential major point of tension in the Asia-Pacific region, with China claiming historical jurisdiction over almost the entire vast sea and, since 2014, reefs and sand barriers on artificial islands fortified with missiles and airstrips, which caused the anger of countries claiming their rights in this maritime space.