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China’s hidden meaning in the encounter with the US plane

China's hidden meaning in the encounter with the US plane 0

China’s hidden meaning in the encounter with the US plane

US Navy P-8 Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft.

On August 19, China’s J-11 fighter jet had a `very close, very dangerous` encounter with a US P-8 Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft at a location 220 km east of Hainan Island.

Vice Admiral John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, said the Chinese fighter flew across the belly of the P-8, then made a vertical turn, cutting its face at a 90-degree angle right in front of the plane’s nose.

According to an analyst in the Wall Street Journal, there is a theory that the unruly pilot took the action unilaterally.

It also shows military commanders’ ability to manage soldiers and airmen on the front lines.

However, many experts do not believe in that hypothesis.

`The pilot cannot make that decision alone,` commented Andrei Chang, editor-in-chief of Kanwa Defense, a site specializing in military affairs, based in Hong Kong.

According to Andrew Erickson, a professor at the US Naval War College (NWC), the encounter reminded many people of the famous American movie `Top Gun`, which also ended with a skillful rollover.

However, the sky above Hainan is not a Hollywood studio.

China's hidden meaning in the encounter with the US plane

China’s J-11 seen from a P-8 aircraft during the incident on August 19.

The past decade has seen a series of confrontations, both in the air and at sea, between the United States and China.

Washington said the incident was `one of the most unsafe provocations` since the April 1, 2001 event to date.

To date, Beijing still denies US accusations surrounding the clash, on the contrary, puts full responsibility on Washington and urges the US to end reconnaissance missions at supposedly `close` ranges.

The Pentagon later released a photo showing the Chinese jet actually performing a dangerous roll, negating China’s claim that its pilot acted professionally.

A senior US defense official also rejected Beijing’s assertion about maintaining a safe distance.

Analysts believe that the most important point to consider surrounding this encounter is the conflict between the two countries in determining the scope, that is, what kind of reconnaissance is acceptable under international law.

The United States, as well as most other countries, allow foreign reconnaissance vehicles to operate in the exclusive economic zone and the skies above.

Earlier this month, China took a confusing action when it sent a spy ship into Hawaii’s exclusive economic zone while other countries were conducting military exercises there.

According to Mr. Erickson, these things raise the question of what Washington will continue to do in East Asia in the context of many strategic challenges, when Beijing takes advantage of the opportunity to implement the strategy of `cutting into small pieces and gradually occupying`.

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