Pentagon: Footage Shows Chinese Jets' Risky Behavior

Says more than 180 intercepts of US warplanes by Chinese aircraft happened in last 2 years
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 18, 2023 3:00 PM CDT

The Pentagon has released footage of some of the more than 180 intercepts of US warplanes by Chinese aircraft that have occurred in the last two years—more than the total amount over the previous decade and part of a trend US military officials called concerning. The photos and video were released in advance of a soon-to-be-issued annual report by the Pentagon on China's military power and the security threats it may pose to partners in the Indo-Pacific region, reports the AP.

The officials said the Chinese flights were risky and aggressive in nature, but they stopped short of calling most of the flights "unsafe"—a specific term that's used only in the most egregious cases. Still, the officials said it was important to release the footage and call out the behavior because they said it was part of a larger trend of regional intimidation by China that could accidentally lead to conflict.

"All of these examples we've released today underscore the coercive intent of [China] by engaging in behaviors, particularly in international airspace," said Ely Ratner, assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs. "The bottom line is that in many cases, this type of operational behavior can cause active and dangerous accidents" and can lead inadvertently to conflict, he added.

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Adm. John Aquilino, head of US Indo-Pacific Command, said at a Pentagon press briefing Tuesday that despite the US sending carrier strike groups and amphibious ships to support Israel, and now almost 20 months of war in Ukraine, the command has what it needs to deter China. "I haven't had one piece of equipment or force structure depart" his command, Aquilino said, referring to ships, aircraft, and military units. "We have been taking a number of steps to strengthen our commitment to the region, strengthen our deterrence in the region, and we will continue to do that."

(More China stories.)

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