US protests intercept by Chinese jets; China blames US

BEIJING — China denied U.S. accusations that its jets conducted an unprofessional intercept of an American radiation-sniffing surveillance plane in the East China Sea and urged Washington to stop such activities.

The two Chinese SU-30 jets on Wednesday approached a WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft — a modified Boeing C-135 — conducting a routine mission in international airspace in accordance with international law, Pacific Air Forces spokeswoman Lt. Col. Lori Hodge said in a statement.

The WC-135 crew characterized the intercept as unprofessional “due to the maneuvers by the Chinese pilot, as well as the speeds and proximity of both aircraft,” Hodge said.

She declined to provide further details and said the issue would be addressed with China through “appropriate diplomatic and military channels.”

“We would rather discuss it privately with China,” Hodge said in an email to The Associated Press. “This will allow us to continue building confidence with our Chinese counterparts on expected maneuvering to avoid mishaps.”

In China, Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said the American plane was conducting surveillance over the Yellow Sea — the northern part of the East China Sea — and that the Chinese jets moved to identify and verify the plane “in accordance with laws and regulations.”

In a statement on the ministry’s website, Wu said the operation…

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