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China accuses US of ‘slander, hype’ after air conflict

China accuses US of ‘slander, hype’ after air conflict

China accuses US of ‘slander, hype’ after air conflict

China accuses US of ‘slander, hype’ after air conflict

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  • China’s military ministry accuses the US of “slander and exaggeration.”
  • Chinese fighter jet and American spy plane fought on Dec. 21.
  • The United States deliberately misleads public opinion.
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Following a collision between a Chinese fighter jet and an American surveillance plane over the disputed South China Sea, China’s defense ministry accused the United States of breaking international law and engaging in “slander and sensationalism.”

The announcement was made late on Saturday, days after the US military asserted that on December 21, a Chinese J-11 fighter jet flew within 6 meters (20 feet) of a US RC-135 aircraft, causing the latter to do evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision.

Chinese defense ministry spokesperson Tian Julin, meanwhile, claimed that the US Indo-Pacific Command had misrepresented the facts surrounding the incident and that it was US aircraft that had engaged in “dangerous maneuvers” against the Chinese plane.

Tian claimed that the People’s Liberation Army sent fighter jets to track and observe the US aircraft as it was conducting deliberate close-range reconnaissance on China’s southern coastline.

Despite multiple warnings from the Chinese side, the US aircraft suddenly altered its flight stance in a “dangerous approach movement, which seriously compromised the flight safety of the Chinese military aircraft,” he said.

The Chinese plane was allegedly approached by the US aircraft in a video of the incident that was also made public by the defense ministry.

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“The United States deliberately misleads public opinion … in an attempt 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.”

Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei all claim portions of the South China Sea as their own sovereign territory, despite China’s near-total claim to the entire region.

Every year, trillions of dollars’ worth of trade pass through the waterway, which is also home to abundant gas deposits and fishing grounds.

China claims that US military actions that routinely conduct surveillance missions and transit through the region are detrimental to peace.

Tension has grown between the world’s two largest economies on a number of issues, including Beijing’s record on human rights and its claims to Taiwan, which is a self-governing island.

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