Chinese fighter jets intercept United States aircraft
00:43, May 20, 2017
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The WC-135 crew characterized the intercept as unprofessional 'due to the maneuvers by the Chinese pilot, as well as the speeds and proximity of both aircraft, ' Hodge said.
The intercepted aircraft was a WC-135, which is created to collect information on radiation in the atmosphere to detect nuclear explosions.
Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a USA military aircraft over the East China Sea, NBC Newsreported on Thursday, citing two U.S. military officials without revealing their names. The WC-135 have been used in the past to collect evidence of North Korean nuclear tests, according to CNN.
Two Chinese jets intercepted a nuke-sniffing USA military plane in global airspace over the East China Sea on Wednesday in what American officials called an "unprofessional" way - like a scene out of the fighter joke movie "Top Gun". Meanwhile, US Air Force officials said that they were investigating the incident and would address the issue with Beijing diplomatically.
Wednesday's incident was the second between US and Chinese planes this year. The incident reportedly took place in global airspace.
The WC-135 has been regularly deployed on routine missions in Northeast Asia, according to the official.
Wednesday's encounter isn't the first close call this year. At that time the USA called the incident unsafe.
The US sniffer plane was on a mission to detect radiation in worldwide airspace over the East China Sea.
In April 2001, another intercept of a US EP-3E spy plane by a Chinese F-8 fighter in the same area resulted in a collision that killed the Chinese pilot and forced the US plane to make an emergency landing at a base on Hainan.
"U.S. military aircraft routinely transit global airspace throughout the Pacific, including the East China Sea", Hodge said. "The U.S. refuses to recognize the zone, and it is unclear whether the incident took place in it".
This latest incident, together with the furor over the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Aerial Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea, is a reminder of how even defensive actions by the United States relating to North Korea can spook China.
In February, the US's Pacific Command reported an "unsafe" encounter between surveillance planes from the two sides near the disputed Scarborough Shoal.
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