China refutes 'unsafe' interception of US plane

An undated handout picture provided by the US Department of Defense showing a US Navy EP-3 flying over an unknown location.
An undated handout picture provided by the US Department of Defense showing a US Navy EP-3 flying over an unknown location.PHOTO: EPA

Beijing has refuted the Pentagon's claim that two Chinese fighter jets had come dangerously close to an American spy plane in the South China Sea earlier this week, and warned the United States to stop its reconnaissance activities in the area.

The Pentagon said two Chinese J-11 jets had on Tuesday carried out an "unsafe" intercept of its EP-3 plane, which was on a "routine patrol". Fearing China's military build-up to assert dominance in the South China Sea, the US has allegedly conducted at least three military missions there since last October.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2016, with the headline 'China refutes 'unsafe' interception of US plane'. Print Edition | Subscribe