Chinese Air Force Scrambled to Buzz US Plane

Chinese Air Force Scrambled to Buzz US Plane

It appears that Russia isn’t the only “big kid on the block” for the United States to worry about.

An American surveillance plane was recently intercepted by Chinese fighter jets — and the nation’s aggressive behavior has caught the attention of the U.S. Air Force.

The Washington Examiner reported that the incident happened last week over the East China Sea. A U.S. WC-135 “Constant Phoenix” aircraft equipped to detect nuclear weapons activity found itself head-to-head with two Sukhoi Su-30 jets of the Chinese Air Force.

The formidable fighters were developed as Russia’s answer to the F-15 Eagle, but are now used by several countries outside of the old Soviet Bloc.

American diplomats were investigating the incident, which was deemed “unprofessional” by the U.S. military.

“The issue is being addressed with China through appropriate diplomatic and military channels,” stated Lt. Col. Lori Hodge, an Air Force spokeswoman.

Reports indicate that the WC-135 was deployed from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. The so-called “nuke sniffing” aircraft was being used to monitor North Korean nuclear testing, in order to provide advance warning of warhead detonations in the unstable communist nation.

The incident between the Chinese jets and the American aircraft could indicate growing tension between the two powerful nations. China claims the area of the East China Sea as its territory, but Japan disputes these claims. The volatile Korean peninsula is also located in the region, exacerbating the complex power struggle.

“The Senkaku/Diaoyu islands were formally claimed by Japan in 1895 and have been privately owned by a series of Japanese citizens for most of the past 120 years,” the Council on Foreign Relations explained about the disputed region. “China began to reassert claims over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the 1970s, citing historic rights to the area.”

Those islands are believed to hold significant oil reserves, making them potentially valuable to all parties.

With luck, cooler heads will prevail and a non-violent solution to the East China Sea conflict can be found. If history is any guide, however, the region could erupt into turmoil … and the United States could be caught in the middle.

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H/T: Fox News