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US Pentagon says Chinese jet came within 3 metres of bomber

The US military on Thursday (Oct 26) said a Chinese jet came dangerously close to a US bomber earlier this week over the South China Sea, part of what Washington has said is increasingly risky behaviour by Chinese military aircraft.

The US military said that on Tuesday a Chinese J-11 jet came within 3m of the B-52 aircraft.

“During the night time intercept, the PRC (People’s Republic of China) pilot flew in an unsafe and unprofessional manner, demonstrated poor airmanship by closing with uncontrolled excessive speed, flying below, in front of, and within 10 feet (3m) of the B-52, putting both aircraft in danger of collision,” a US military statement said.

“We are concerned this pilot was unaware of how close he came to causing a collision,” it added.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon said Chinese military aircraft have carried out manoeuvres close to US aircraft nearly 200 times since 2021.

Last week, China’s defence ministry said that the Pentagon accusing its military of “risky and coercive” aerial intercepts was a premeditated smear on China with ulterior political motives.

Relations between China and the United States have been tense, with friction between the world’s two largest economies over everything from Taiwan and China’s human rights record to its military activity in the South China Sea.

But Washington has been eager to revive military-to-military communications with China.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi began a long-anticipated visit to Washington on Thursday, as the US and China seek to manage deep strategic differences and pave the way for an expected summit between President Joe Biden and his counterpart Xi Jinping.

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