China rejects U.S. criticism over jet encounter

BEIJING Sat Aug 23, 2014 1:19pm EDT

A U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft takes off from Perth International Airport in this April 16, 2014 file photo.  REUTERS/Greg Wood/Pool/Files

A U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft takes off from Perth International Airport in this April 16, 2014 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Greg Wood/Pool/Files

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Saturday called US criticism of an approach by one of its jets to a US Navy patrol plane off the Chinese coast earlier this week "completely groundless" and said its pilot had maintained a safe distance from the US aircraft.

The strongly-worded statement attributed to Ministry of National Defense spokesman Yang Yujun was a response to a diplomatic complaint the Pentagon filed with Beijing on Friday.

The complaint concerned an August 19 encounter about 215 km (135 miles) east of China's Hainan Island in which a Chinese fighter jet came within meters (yards) of a US P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine and reconnaissance plane and, the US claimed, performed acrobatic maneuvers around it.

In its statement, the Chinese defense ministry said the J-11 jet was conducting routine checks and described the pilot's actions as professional.

The United States' frequent short-range reconnaissance missions threatened the safety of both militaries, it said.

It urged the US to reduce short-range reconnaissance against China and to respect international law and conventions.

(Reporting by Alexandra Harney, editing by Rosalind Russell)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (121)
robhar wrote:
Next time, F-22 escort for the plane. Those are not supposed to show on radar and would provide a nice counterpoint.

Aug 23, 2014 1:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
whamrick wrote:
Just another example of how weak we have become under this administration. We have bought all of our products from these people, and now they have enough money to buy fighter jets that can be used to intimidate us. So, what does our half-honky in the WH do? Nothing.

Aug 23, 2014 1:49pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
usafmsgt wrote:
Might be time to fit the P-8′s with some short-range AA missiles.

Aug 23, 2014 1:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.