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A US Navy surveillance aircraft was intercepted by two Chinese J-10 fighter jets in an "unsafe" manner over the East China Sea on Sunday, prompting evasive action by the former's pilot to avoid a collision, the Pentagon has said.
"(the US Navy aircraft) EP-3 flying in international airspace over the East China Sea was intercepted by two Chinese J-10s. One of them came underneath it at a high rate of speed, then slowed and pulled up. This caused the EP-3's T-Cast alarm to go off essentially, and it was forced to take evasive action to prevent the possibility of collision," Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters yesterday.
"Obviously it's something we watch very closely," he said.
Another Pentagon official later described the Chinese action as "unsafe".
Davis said the incident took place on Sunday in the area between the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea, west of the Korean peninsula and east of Qingdao.
He said the Chinese fighter jets were there for a while and "flying wing-to-wing" as well.
"Again, such intercepts, when they're conducted safely, are not uncommon. This particular manoeuvre that took place during the course of it was not safe," Davis said in response to a question.
According to the Pentagon spokesman, the vast majority of interactions that they have with the Chinese military are perfectly safe.
"This was the exception, not the norm," he said.