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China accuses US military of distorting information about close aircraft encounter

Beijing, ChinaEdited By: Trisha PathakUpdated: Jan 01, 2023, 04:26 PM IST
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On Thursday, the US military claimed that a Navy J-11 fighter jet from China came within three metres of US air force RC-135 aircraft on December 21. Photograph:(Reuters)

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Two days after the US military alleged that a Chinese Navy aircraft flew dangerously close to a US air force jet, the defence ministry of China has accused the US military of fudging information.

China's defence ministry has accused the US military of misguiding the public about a previous confrontation between the two forces in the South China Sea about the disputed Paracel Islands. Two days after the US military alleged that a Chinese Navy aircraft flew dangerously close to a US air force jet, the defence ministry of China has accused the US military of fudging information, Reuters reported.

ccording to a defence ministry spokesperson, the US military plane violated international law and compromised the safety of Chinese pilots.

On Thursday, the US military claimed that a Navy J-11 fighter jet from China came within three metres of US air force RC-135 aircraft on December 21. China's action pushed the US military to take unavoidable steps to prevent a collision between the two.

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However, the spokesman for China's Southern Theatre Command, Tian Junli, gave a statement on Saturday denying the accusations. He argued that the US aircraft overstepped international territories, neglected consistent warnings, and took unsafe measures putting the Chinese aircraft at risk. 

"The United States deliberately misleads public opinion to confuse the international audience," Tian said. "We solemnly request the US side to restrain the actions of frontline naval and air forces, strictly abide by related international laws and agreements, and prevent accidents in the sea and the air," he continued.

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A large portion of the southern waters near China comes under Chinese territory. However, other countries like Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also hold small parts.

Conflicts over the South China sea are not new to China. US military has increased patrols near the water body to avoid armed conflicts between China, Vietnam, and the Philippines, which struggle to assert maritime power over it. 

The ownership of the Paracel islands remains heavily debated. However, the People's Republic of China has de facto control over the islands.

(With inputs from agencies)

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