In a report from late Thursday by Bill Gertz in the Washington Free Beacon, it seems that the Chinese are continuing, even accelerating, their provocative reactions to the US military presence in the South China Sea. From the article:
The P-8, a new, militarized Boeing-737 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, was conducting routine surveillance of the Chinese coast over the East China Sea on Monday when the incident occurred, said U.S. defense officials familiar with reports of the encounter.
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeffrey Pool had no immediate comment but said he would provide “an explanation of the event” on Friday. The defense officials said the Chinese Su-27 interceptor jet flew within 50 feet of the P-8 and then carried out a barrel roll over the top of the aircraft—a move described by officials as dangerous and meant to threaten the surveillance aircraft.
It was the second threatening encounter of a U.S. surveillance aircraft this year. In April, a Russian Su-27 flew within 100 feet of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft during another dangerous intercept over waters north of Japan.
One defense official said the Pentagon’s failure to produce a tough response to the April event likely spurred the Chinese to conduct the similar threatening intercept on Monday.
Chinese military officials have said they oppose all U.S. electronic surveillance flights and described ship-based monitoring of their facilities and territory an encroachment of sovereignty. U.S. military officials have said the monitoring is carried within international airspace and thus does not violate international or Chinese law.
Is it too early to be describing the South China Sea as a “powderkeg”? View the full piece, HERE.