CHINA VOWS TO RESPOND TO U.S. SURVEILLANCE FLIGHTS

BEIJING (AP) — China said Thursday it will continue responding to U.S. military surveillance flights off its coast, rejecting American accusations that one of Beijing’s fighter jets acted recklessly in intercepting a U.S. Navy plane last week.

Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said China’s military would closely monitor U.S. flights and reiterated calls for the U.S. to scale back or end such missions altogether.

“According to different situations we will adopt different measures to make sure we safeguard our air and sea security of the country,” Yang said at a monthly news briefing.

China has long complained about U.S. surveillance flights that just skim the edge of China’s territorial airspace. However, Yang said such flights this year have become more frequent, are covering a wider area and are coming even closer to the Chinese coast.

U.S. sea and air surveillance missions occur most frequently during Chinese military exercises or weapons tests, raising the risk of accidents and misunderstandings, Yang said.

That was a likely reference to an incident last December in which China accused a U.S. Navy cruiser, the USS Cowpens, of having veered too close to China’s sole aircraft carrier in the South China Sea during sea drills. That nearly led to a collision with a Chinese navy ship in the most serious sea confrontation between the two nations in years.

The latest incident also revived memories of the 2001 collision between a Chinese jet and a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft off China’s Hainan Island, killing the Chinese pilot and forcing the Navy plane to make an emergency landing on the island.

Yang, however, wouldn’t say what distance China considers acceptable, saying only that the U.S. should scale back or end such flights entirely if it wants to avoid potential accidents and build mutual trust.

The Pentagon said that in the Aug. 19 encounter, a Chinese jet made several close passes by the Navy P-8 Poseidon plane, coming within 30 feet (9 meters) of it at one point.

It said that included the Chinese jet doing a “barrel roll” maneuver over the top of the Poseidon – a modified Boeing 737 – and passing across the nose of the Navy plane apparently to show that it was armed.

The incident took place about 135 miles (220 kilometers) from Hainan, which is home to naval airfields and a highly sensitive submarine base.

Yang rejected U.S. accusations that the Chinese pilot acted in a dangerous and unprofessional manner, saying it was the U.S. that seemed to have little regard for the safety of its personnel.

“China is a developing country. Our aircraft are very precious. The lives of our pilots are even more precious,” Yang said. “Compared to countries that ask their pilots to fly down on other countries’ door steps, we cherish more the safety of our personnel and equipment.”

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US aircraft dropping sonar system may have triggered Chinese jet interception: state media

A Chinese fighter jet’s interception of a US Navy sub-hunter aircraft was possibly triggered when the American plane dropped a sonar surveillance system into the South China Sea, according to state media.

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U.S., CHINESE OFFICIALS TO MEET AT PENTAGON AFTER JET INTERCEPT

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By Phil Stewart and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. and Chinese military officials will hold talks on rules of behavior at the Pentagon on Wednesday and Thursday, a U.S. official said, days after the United States denounced a “dangerous” Chinese jet intercept of a U.S. Navy patrol plane.

Last Tuesday, a Chinese fighter pilot flew acrobatic maneuvers around the U.S. Navy’s P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine and reconnaissance plane, crossing over and under it in international airspace over the South China Sea, the Pentagon said.

At one point, the jet flew wingtip-to-wingtip about 10 yards (9 meters) from the Poseidon, then performed a barrel roll over the top of it. The U.S. defense official said other close intercepts occurred in March, April and May.

While this week’s discussions at the Pentagon were planned long before the recent incidents, they touch on issues at the core of the U.S. concerns about Chinese military behavior: that a Chinese provocation could spiral into a broader crisis sparked by a military miscalculation in the disputed territory.

China’s sovereignty claims over the strategic stretch of mineral-rich water off its southern coast and to the east of mainland Southeast Asia set it directly against U.S. allies Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also lay claim to parts of the disputed areas.

The meetings involve a working group to discuss existing multilateral standards of behavior for air and maritime activities, the defense official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Rear Admiral James Foggo, Assistant Deputy Chief of U.S. Naval Operations, is among the U.S. military officials attending, the official said. It was not immediately clear which Chinese officials would participate.

The U.S. and Chinese militaries have boosted their contacts in recent years amid recognition that, as China’s economic interests continue to expand it will play a bigger security role in the world and have more interactions with the U.S. military.

Still, the recent intercepts show that those increased contacts have not eliminated friction between the two.

In April 2001, a similar aggressive intercept of a U.S. EP-3E spy plane by a Chinese F-8 fighter in the same area resulted in a collision that killed the Chinese pilot and forced the American plane to make an emergency landing at a base on China’s Hainan island.

The 24 U.S. air crew members were held for 11 days until Washington apologized for the incident. That encounter soured U.S.-Chinese relations in the early days of President George W. Bush’s first administration.

China has denied wrongdoing in the latest incident and blamed the United States, citing “large-scale and highly frequent close-in reconnaisssance.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded by saying the United States operated “in a transparent manner.”

“We make other countries, including China, aware of our plans,” Psaki said.

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CHINA CALLS U.S. WARPLANE ACCUSATIONS ‘GROUNDLESS’

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CHINA-

(AFP) Beijing dismissed on Saturday the Pentagon’s accusations that a Chinese fighter jet flew too close to a US military aircraft off Hainan Island, blaming “massive and frequent” surveillance for dangerous mid-air confrontations in state media.

US Rear Admiral John Kirby had said Friday the armed Chinese warplane came close to the American surveillance aircraft three times, flying underneath the American plane, at the P-8’s nose and then in parallel with the wingtips, less than 30 feet (nine metres) apart.

In approaching the P-8 Poseidon, the Chinese jet at one point performed a barrel roll, apparently to display its weapons, in what Kirby called a “very dangerous” intercept.

China’s defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun called the claims “totally groundless” in a statement cited by the Xinhua state news agency, lashing out at the American military for conducting surveillance operations close to Chinese waters. Yang said the fighter jet pilot was a safe distance away and making regular checks on the surveillance aircraft during Tuesday’s confrontation in international waters about 135 miles (220 kilometres) east of Hainan island.

It was the United States, and its “massive and frequent close-in surveillance of China” that endangered air and marine security, Xinhua quoted Yang as saying.

The episode this week has raised tensions and underlined the growing rivalry between the United States and China, with Beijing building up its military and asserting its territorial claims across the Pacific. The move also threatened to jeopardise longstanding US efforts to bolster relations with China’s military, at a time when officials have touted progress in forging a dialogue with Beijing’s top brass.

The skies over Hainan Island were the scene of a major international incident in April 2001, when a Chinese fighter jet collided with a US Navy EP-3 spy plane.

The collision left one Chinese pilot dead and forced the American plane to make an emergency landing on Hainan. Chinese authorities initially detained the 24-member American crew for more than a week until both governments worked out a face-saving deal for their release.

Washington and Beijing have long disagreed over aviation and maritime rights in the strategic South China Sea, with the Americans insisting the area is part of international waters and airspace.

China argues it is part of the country’s “exclusive economic zone.”

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REPORT: CHINESE JET THREATENED U.S. NAVY JET NEAR JAPAN

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  • Pentagon says Chinese Jet Carried Out ‘Aggressive’ and ‘Dangerous’ Intercept of U.S. Navy Intelligence Jet
  • Su-27 flew within 20 feet of P-8 anti-submarine warfare jet in South China Sea

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NAVYJETU.S. Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft

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By Bill Gertz | Washington Free Beacon

August 22, 2014

The Pentagon on Friday called a Chinese jet’s encounter with a U.S. anti-submarine warfare aircraft an “aggressive” and “dangerous” act and said it has protested the action with Beijing.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters that the incident took place Tuesday in international airspace.

“We have registered our strong concerns to the Chinese about the unsafe and unprofessional intercept, which posed a risk to the safety and the well-being of the air crew and was inconsistent with customary international law,” Kirby said, adding that the incident was “very, very close, very dangerous.”

“Also—and we’ve made this clear—that it undermines efforts to continue developing military-to-military relations with the Chinese military.”

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CHINESEJETChinese SU-27 fighter plane / AP

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Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeff Pool said the aerial incident took place 135 miles east of Hainan Island when a Chinese J-11, a version of the Russian Su-27, came within 20 feet of a U.S. Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

“The intercept was aggressive and demonstrated a lack of due regard for the safety and well-being of the U.S. and Chinese aircrews and aircraft,” Pool said in a statement, noting it was one of the most dangerous aerial encounters with the Chinese since the April 2001 EP-3 mid-air collision with a Chinese J-8.

Pool called the encounter with the armed Chinese fighter “a dangerous intercept of a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon that was on a routine mission.”

“On three different occasions, the Chinese J-11 crossed directly under the U.S. aircraft with one pass having only 50 to 100 feet separation between the two aircraft,” the spokesman said.

“The Chinese jet also passed the nose of the P-8 at 90 degrees with its belly toward the P-8 to show its weapons loadout,” he added.

“In doing so, the pilot was unable to see the P-8, further increasing the potential for a collision,” Pool said. “The Chinese pilot then flew directly under and alongside the P-8 bringing their wingtips within 20 feet and then before he stabilized his fighter he conducted a roll over the P-8 passing within 45 feet.”

According to the Pentagon, the latest encounter is part of a rising trend of “nonstandard, unprofessional and unsafe intercepts of US aircraft” that began in late 2013.

The Chinese jet originated from the same PLA air force unit in Hainan that was responsible for other close intercepts in March, April and May, Pool said.

“We are concerned that the intercepting crews from that unit are acting aggressively and demonstrating a lack of regard for the regard for the safety of our aircrews,” he said. “We have raised our concerns over this unsafe behavior to the PRC.”

At Martha’s Vineyard, where President Obama is vacationing, Deputy White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes also criticized the Chinese for the incident that he described as a “provocation.”

“It’s obviously a deeply concerning provocation, and we have communicated directly to the Chinese government our objection to this type of action,” Rhodes said.

The incident could further complicate efforts to develop closer military relations. “What we’ve encouraged is constructive military-to-military ties with China, and this type of action clearly violates the spirit of that engagement, and we’ve made our concerns known directly to Beijing,” Rhodes said.

Defense officials said the latest encounter highlights China’s continued aggressiveness in the region.

The P-8, a new, militarized Boeing-737 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, was conducting routine surveillance of the Chinese coast over the South China Sea, not the East China Sea as initially reported by the Free Beacon.

Other defense officials said the Chinese Su-27 interceptor carried out a barrel roll over the top of the aircraft—a move described by officials as dangerous and meant to threaten the surveillance aircraft.

It was the second threatening encounter of a U.S. surveillance aircraft this year. In April, a Russian Su-27 flew within 100 feet of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft during another dangerous intercept over waters north of Japan.

One defense official said the Pentagon’s failure to produce a tough response to the April event likely spurred the Chinese to conduct the similar threatening intercept on Monday.

Chinese military officials have said they oppose all U.S. electronic surveillance flights and described ship-based monitoring of their facilities and territory an encroachment of sovereignty. U.S. military officials have said the monitoring is carried within international airspace and thus does not violate international or Chinese law.

The Chinese attempt at aerial intimidation comes amid unprecedented Chinese military exercises held recently and currently underway in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea.

On Monday, Chinese air force and navy jets conducted combat simulation drills in the East China Sea—a possible target of the P-8’s monitoring.

China also is holding international military exercises in Inner Mongolia with Russia and several Central Asia states that are part of the Beijing-led anti-U.S. alliance known as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The P-8 that was intercepted by the Su-27 is part of the Navy’s first squadron of new sub hunters deployed to Asia. Six P-8s, that can fire both missiles and torpedoes, are under the command Navy’s Seventh Fleet and are based at Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base. They support the fleet’s maritime surveillance operations as part of the U.S. pivot to Asia.

The P-8s were deployed in December—a month after China declared an air defense identification zone over the East China that encroaches on both Japanese and South Korean maritime zones. The U.S. government said it does not recognize the Chinese defense zone. China has threatened to use force to maintain its control over the area covering most of the East China Sea.

The Navy has described the P-8 as “the most advanced long range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world.” The jet also conducts maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

The U.S.-China close encounter also is a setback for Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, who has been leading Obama administration efforts to develop closer relations with the Chinese military.

Locklear has sought to play down the growing military threat from China as part of efforts to develop closer cooperation with the Chinese military.

The commander’s dovish policies are being opposed by some in the Pentagon and Air Force who are concerned that the conciliatory approach will appease the Chinese at a time when Beijing has made aggressive territorial claims in the East China Sea and South China Seas.

Rick Fisher, a China military affairs analyst, said increased U.S. surveillance flights near China are part of the United States’ strategy of responding to China’s aggressive imposition of controls in disputed maritime regions.

“In response, China is applying the same aggressive flying intimidation tactics to U.S. surveillance aircraft that it is using on Japanese surveillance aircraft,” said Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Chinese warplanes conducted similar close intercepts to Japanese P-3 aircraft in May and June, flying within 50 feet of the aircraft, Fisher said.

“The U.S. needs to consider a stronger response and make clear to China that unprovoked deadly aggression will result in an allied military response,” Fisher said.

The latest Chinese aerial assertiveness should prompt the United States to conduct mount joint fighter escorts with Japan’s military for surveillance aircraft, he said. Additionally, the Pentagon should increase the number of U.S. fighters deployed to Okinawa, and to request that the Philippines permit the stationing of a wing of fighters at Philippine air bases, as well as boost U.S. military assistance to the Manila government.

Fisher said the Chinese objective with the aggressive aerial encounters is to “make U.S. political leaders fear another ‘April 1’ incident.”

In April 2001, a Chinese F-8 interceptor crashed into a U.S. EP-3 surveillance aircraft off the southern China coast, causing the J-8 to crash and nearly causing the crash of the EP-3.

That encounter set off an international crisis after the propeller-driven U.S. aircraft made an emergency landing on China’s Hainan Island and the 24 crew members were imprisoned for 10 days.

“This kind of intimidation is intended to make White House officials fear a larger incident with China and to ‘stand down’ American surveillance flights,” Fisher said. “Beijing is hoping to take advantage of the distraction of these U.S. officials by multiple crises in Iraq and the Ukraine to push the Americans out of maritime regions in Asia that China is seeking to dominate.”

Until Monday’s encounter, China had been operating its intercepts in a more careful manner, defense officials said, describing most past encounters as “professional.”

The U.S. military has sought to engage China in talks on maritime rules of engagement and a code of conduct aimed at preventing such close encounters with limited success.

In the RC-135 encounter, the U.S. electronic surveillance aircraft was flying near the Russian Far East coast north of Japan on April 23 when an the Russian Su-27 intercepted the jet.

During that encounter, the Russian warplane rolled sideways to reveal its air-to-air missiles and then flew within 100 feet of the RC-135 cockpit. The incident was video recorded by the crew but the Pentagon declined to release the video.

The Pentagon protested the Russian encounter with officials in Moscow. However, no additional steps were taken to warn the Russians about further dangerous intercepts.

Fisher said U.S. P-8s have flown surveillance missions over the South China Sea, where China has been engaged in aggressive naval and coast guard tactics against Vietnam and Philippines over competing maritime claims.

“If such patrols are over shallower waters near to China, another ‘controlled crash’ into the P-8 could also be part of a Chinese intelligence operation to capture the latest U.S. Navy anti-submarine and patrol aircraft,” he said.

“China is just now testing its first long range anti-submarine aircraft based on the turboprop powered Y-9 transport,” he added. “Gaining insights into the twin-turbofan powered P-8 may accelerate a likely Chinese program to make an ASW/maritime patrol version of its twin-turbofan C-919 regional airliner.”

Update: This story and headlines have been updated with a statement from the Pentagon. 

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U.S., CHINESE OFFICIALS TO MEET AT PENTAGON AFTER JET INTERCEPT

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By Phil Stewart and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. and Chinese military officials will hold talks on rules of behavior at the Pentagon on Wednesday and Thursday, a U.S. official said, days after the United States denounced a “dangerous” Chinese jet intercept of a U.S. Navy patrol plane.

Last Tuesday, a Chinese fighter pilot flew acrobatic maneuvers around the U.S. Navy’s P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine and reconnaissance plane, crossing over and under it in international airspace over the South China Sea, the Pentagon said.

At one point, the jet flew wingtip-to-wingtip about 10 yards (9 meters) from the Poseidon, then performed a barrel roll over the top of it. The U.S. defense official said other close intercepts occurred in March, April and May.

While this week’s discussions at the Pentagon were planned long before the recent incidents, they touch on issues at the core of the U.S. concerns about Chinese military behavior: that a Chinese provocation could spiral into a broader crisis sparked by a military miscalculation in the disputed territory.

China’s sovereignty claims over the strategic stretch of mineral-rich water off its southern coast and to the east of mainland Southeast Asia set it directly against U.S. allies Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also lay claim to parts of the disputed areas.

The meetings involve a working group to discuss existing multilateral standards of behavior for air and maritime activities, the defense official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Rear Admiral James Foggo, Assistant Deputy Chief of U.S. Naval Operations, is among the U.S. military officials attending, the official said. It was not immediately clear which Chinese officials would participate.

The U.S. and Chinese militaries have boosted their contacts in recent years amid recognition that, as China’s economic interests continue to expand it will play a bigger security role in the world and have more interactions with the U.S. military.

Still, the recent intercepts show that those increased contacts have not eliminated friction between the two.

In April 2001, a similar aggressive intercept of a U.S. EP-3E spy plane by a Chinese F-8 fighter in the same area resulted in a collision that killed the Chinese pilot and forced the American plane to make an emergency landing at a base on China’s Hainan island.

The 24 U.S. air crew members were held for 11 days until Washington apologized for the incident. That encounter soured U.S.-Chinese relations in the early days of President George W. Bush’s first administration.

China has denied wrongdoing in the latest incident and blamed the United States, citing “large-scale and highly frequent close-in reconnaisssance.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded by saying the United States operated “in a transparent manner.”

“We make other countries, including China, aware of our plans,” Psaki said.

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CHINA CALLS U.S. WARPLANE ACCUSATIONS ‘GROUNDLESS’

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CHINA-

(AFP) Beijing dismissed on Saturday the Pentagon’s accusations that a Chinese fighter jet flew too close to a US military aircraft off Hainan Island, blaming “massive and frequent” surveillance for dangerous mid-air confrontations in state media.

US Rear Admiral John Kirby had said Friday the armed Chinese warplane came close to the American surveillance aircraft three times, flying underneath the American plane, at the P-8’s nose and then in parallel with the wingtips, less than 30 feet (nine metres) apart.

In approaching the P-8 Poseidon, the Chinese jet at one point performed a barrel roll, apparently to display its weapons, in what Kirby called a “very dangerous” intercept.

China’s defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun called the claims “totally groundless” in a statement cited by the Xinhua state news agency, lashing out at the American military for conducting surveillance operations close to Chinese waters. Yang said the fighter jet pilot was a safe distance away and making regular checks on the surveillance aircraft during Tuesday’s confrontation in international waters about 135 miles (220 kilometres) east of Hainan island.

It was the United States, and its “massive and frequent close-in surveillance of China” that endangered air and marine security, Xinhua quoted Yang as saying.

The episode this week has raised tensions and underlined the growing rivalry between the United States and China, with Beijing building up its military and asserting its territorial claims across the Pacific. The move also threatened to jeopardise longstanding US efforts to bolster relations with China’s military, at a time when officials have touted progress in forging a dialogue with Beijing’s top brass.

The skies over Hainan Island were the scene of a major international incident in April 2001, when a Chinese fighter jet collided with a US Navy EP-3 spy plane.

The collision left one Chinese pilot dead and forced the American plane to make an emergency landing on Hainan. Chinese authorities initially detained the 24-member American crew for more than a week until both governments worked out a face-saving deal for their release.

Washington and Beijing have long disagreed over aviation and maritime rights in the strategic South China Sea, with the Americans insisting the area is part of international waters and airspace.

China argues it is part of the country’s “exclusive economic zone.”

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REPORT: CHINESE JET THREATENED U.S. NAVY JET NEAR JAPAN

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  • Pentagon says Chinese Jet Carried Out ‘Aggressive’ and ‘Dangerous’ Intercept of U.S. Navy Intelligence Jet
  • Su-27 flew within 20 feet of P-8 anti-submarine warfare jet in South China Sea

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NAVYJETU.S. Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft

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By Bill Gertz | Washington Free Beacon

August 22, 2014

The Pentagon on Friday called a Chinese jet’s encounter with a U.S. anti-submarine warfare aircraft an “aggressive” and “dangerous” act and said it has protested the action with Beijing.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters that the incident took place Tuesday in international airspace.

“We have registered our strong concerns to the Chinese about the unsafe and unprofessional intercept, which posed a risk to the safety and the well-being of the air crew and was inconsistent with customary international law,” Kirby said, adding that the incident was “very, very close, very dangerous.”

“Also—and we’ve made this clear—that it undermines efforts to continue developing military-to-military relations with the Chinese military.”

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CHINESEJETChinese SU-27 fighter plane / AP

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Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeff Pool said the aerial incident took place 135 miles east of Hainan Island when a Chinese J-11, a version of the Russian Su-27, came within 20 feet of a U.S. Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

“The intercept was aggressive and demonstrated a lack of due regard for the safety and well-being of the U.S. and Chinese aircrews and aircraft,” Pool said in a statement, noting it was one of the most dangerous aerial encounters with the Chinese since the April 2001 EP-3 mid-air collision with a Chinese J-8.

Pool called the encounter with the armed Chinese fighter “a dangerous intercept of a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon that was on a routine mission.”

“On three different occasions, the Chinese J-11 crossed directly under the U.S. aircraft with one pass having only 50 to 100 feet separation between the two aircraft,” the spokesman said.

“The Chinese jet also passed the nose of the P-8 at 90 degrees with its belly toward the P-8 to show its weapons loadout,” he added.

“In doing so, the pilot was unable to see the P-8, further increasing the potential for a collision,” Pool said. “The Chinese pilot then flew directly under and alongside the P-8 bringing their wingtips within 20 feet and then before he stabilized his fighter he conducted a roll over the P-8 passing within 45 feet.”

According to the Pentagon, the latest encounter is part of a rising trend of “nonstandard, unprofessional and unsafe intercepts of US aircraft” that began in late 2013.

The Chinese jet originated from the same PLA air force unit in Hainan that was responsible for other close intercepts in March, April and May, Pool said.

“We are concerned that the intercepting crews from that unit are acting aggressively and demonstrating a lack of regard for the regard for the safety of our aircrews,” he said. “We have raised our concerns over this unsafe behavior to the PRC.”

At Martha’s Vineyard, where President Obama is vacationing, Deputy White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes also criticized the Chinese for the incident that he described as a “provocation.”

“It’s obviously a deeply concerning provocation, and we have communicated directly to the Chinese government our objection to this type of action,” Rhodes said.

The incident could further complicate efforts to develop closer military relations. “What we’ve encouraged is constructive military-to-military ties with China, and this type of action clearly violates the spirit of that engagement, and we’ve made our concerns known directly to Beijing,” Rhodes said.

Defense officials said the latest encounter highlights China’s continued aggressiveness in the region.

The P-8, a new, militarized Boeing-737 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, was conducting routine surveillance of the Chinese coast over the South China Sea, not the East China Sea as initially reported by the Free Beacon.

Other defense officials said the Chinese Su-27 interceptor carried out a barrel roll over the top of the aircraft—a move described by officials as dangerous and meant to threaten the surveillance aircraft.

It was the second threatening encounter of a U.S. surveillance aircraft this year. In April, a Russian Su-27 flew within 100 feet of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft during another dangerous intercept over waters north of Japan.

One defense official said the Pentagon’s failure to produce a tough response to the April event likely spurred the Chinese to conduct the similar threatening intercept on Monday.

Chinese military officials have said they oppose all U.S. electronic surveillance flights and described ship-based monitoring of their facilities and territory an encroachment of sovereignty. U.S. military officials have said the monitoring is carried within international airspace and thus does not violate international or Chinese law.

The Chinese attempt at aerial intimidation comes amid unprecedented Chinese military exercises held recently and currently underway in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea.

On Monday, Chinese air force and navy jets conducted combat simulation drills in the East China Sea—a possible target of the P-8’s monitoring.

China also is holding international military exercises in Inner Mongolia with Russia and several Central Asia states that are part of the Beijing-led anti-U.S. alliance known as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The P-8 that was intercepted by the Su-27 is part of the Navy’s first squadron of new sub hunters deployed to Asia. Six P-8s, that can fire both missiles and torpedoes, are under the command Navy’s Seventh Fleet and are based at Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base. They support the fleet’s maritime surveillance operations as part of the U.S. pivot to Asia.

The P-8s were deployed in December—a month after China declared an air defense identification zone over the East China that encroaches on both Japanese and South Korean maritime zones. The U.S. government said it does not recognize the Chinese defense zone. China has threatened to use force to maintain its control over the area covering most of the East China Sea.

The Navy has described the P-8 as “the most advanced long range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world.” The jet also conducts maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

The U.S.-China close encounter also is a setback for Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, who has been leading Obama administration efforts to develop closer relations with the Chinese military.

Locklear has sought to play down the growing military threat from China as part of efforts to develop closer cooperation with the Chinese military.

The commander’s dovish policies are being opposed by some in the Pentagon and Air Force who are concerned that the conciliatory approach will appease the Chinese at a time when Beijing has made aggressive territorial claims in the East China Sea and South China Seas.

Rick Fisher, a China military affairs analyst, said increased U.S. surveillance flights near China are part of the United States’ strategy of responding to China’s aggressive imposition of controls in disputed maritime regions.

“In response, China is applying the same aggressive flying intimidation tactics to U.S. surveillance aircraft that it is using on Japanese surveillance aircraft,” said Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Chinese warplanes conducted similar close intercepts to Japanese P-3 aircraft in May and June, flying within 50 feet of the aircraft, Fisher said.

“The U.S. needs to consider a stronger response and make clear to China that unprovoked deadly aggression will result in an allied military response,” Fisher said.

The latest Chinese aerial assertiveness should prompt the United States to conduct mount joint fighter escorts with Japan’s military for surveillance aircraft, he said. Additionally, the Pentagon should increase the number of U.S. fighters deployed to Okinawa, and to request that the Philippines permit the stationing of a wing of fighters at Philippine air bases, as well as boost U.S. military assistance to the Manila government.

Fisher said the Chinese objective with the aggressive aerial encounters is to “make U.S. political leaders fear another ‘April 1’ incident.”

In April 2001, a Chinese F-8 interceptor crashed into a U.S. EP-3 surveillance aircraft off the southern China coast, causing the J-8 to crash and nearly causing the crash of the EP-3.

That encounter set off an international crisis after the propeller-driven U.S. aircraft made an emergency landing on China’s Hainan Island and the 24 crew members were imprisoned for 10 days.

“This kind of intimidation is intended to make White House officials fear a larger incident with China and to ‘stand down’ American surveillance flights,” Fisher said. “Beijing is hoping to take advantage of the distraction of these U.S. officials by multiple crises in Iraq and the Ukraine to push the Americans out of maritime regions in Asia that China is seeking to dominate.”

Until Monday’s encounter, China had been operating its intercepts in a more careful manner, defense officials said, describing most past encounters as “professional.”

The U.S. military has sought to engage China in talks on maritime rules of engagement and a code of conduct aimed at preventing such close encounters with limited success.

In the RC-135 encounter, the U.S. electronic surveillance aircraft was flying near the Russian Far East coast north of Japan on April 23 when an the Russian Su-27 intercepted the jet.

During that encounter, the Russian warplane rolled sideways to reveal its air-to-air missiles and then flew within 100 feet of the RC-135 cockpit. The incident was video recorded by the crew but the Pentagon declined to release the video.

The Pentagon protested the Russian encounter with officials in Moscow. However, no additional steps were taken to warn the Russians about further dangerous intercepts.

Fisher said U.S. P-8s have flown surveillance missions over the South China Sea, where China has been engaged in aggressive naval and coast guard tactics against Vietnam and Philippines over competing maritime claims.

“If such patrols are over shallower waters near to China, another ‘controlled crash’ into the P-8 could also be part of a Chinese intelligence operation to capture the latest U.S. Navy anti-submarine and patrol aircraft,” he said.

“China is just now testing its first long range anti-submarine aircraft based on the turboprop powered Y-9 transport,” he added. “Gaining insights into the twin-turbofan powered P-8 may accelerate a likely Chinese program to make an ASW/maritime patrol version of its twin-turbofan C-919 regional airliner.”

Update: This story and headlines have been updated with a statement from the Pentagon. 

-

RELATED POSTS:

WORLD WAR III AND TOTAL GLOBAL ECONOMIC COLLAPSE

CHINA’S PLAN TO USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS ON THE UNITED STATES

CHINA’S LONG RANGE PLAN FOR WAR

CHINA THINKS IT CAN DEFEAT THE UNITED STATES IN BATTLE

JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER PREPARES FOR WAR WITH CHINA

ABE HEADS TO AUSTRALIA AFTER STEP BACK FROM POST-WAR PACIFISM

KOREA AND THE “AXIS OF EVIL”

CHINA SHOWS OFF SURVEILLANCE PROWESS OF NEW SATELLITE

Chinese authorities says the country’s extensive terrestrial surveillance network helps to deter crime and maintain “social stability,” though critics say it constitutes an invasion of privacy and is often deployed to monitor dissidents.

By Los Angeles Times

China has spent billions of dollars to build a nationwide surveillance network – by one 2013 estimate, the country had 30 million surveillance cameras in parks, on highways and even in taxis.

Now, there’s a very powerful eye in the sky that allows authorities to keep tabs on things: the Gaofen-1 satellite, which is capturing high-resolution images from 300 miles above the Earth.

Analysis of images captured by Gaofen-1 have enabled Chinese police to find fields of opium poppy and marijuana in northern China and uncover dozens of routes used by smugglers at  the border with North Korea and along the frontier in the restive Xinjiang region, the official New China News Agency reported Monday.

“Chinese scientists definitely did research before on utilizing satellite images to fight crimes,” Xie Tao, a professor who specializes satellite imagery at Nanjing University of Science and Technology, said in an interview. “But now, thanks to the high-resolution images provided by Gaofen-1, they’re finally confident enough to announce the results to the public.”

Gaofen-1 was launched in April 2013 and put into service in December. During the first few months of testing after its launch, the satellite (whose name means “high resolution”) provided data on earthquakes, floods and smog in China. The news agency said its cameras were capable of capturing objects as small as a bicycle.

But just because a satellite can photograph something doesn’t mean humans are always good at telling what the object really is. In the hunt for the missing flight Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 this year, for example, multiple satellite images were offered by different countries, including China, but the objects shown in photographs proved to be unrelated to the plane.

“To better analyze images captured by the satellite, a basic understanding of the conditions on the ground is essential,” Xie said. For example, when it comes to drug crops, “you need to know what other plants they have in the area before you can distinguish marijuana from the rest.”

Chinese authorities says the country’s extensive terrestrial surveillance network helps to deter crime and maintain “social stability,” though critics say it constitutes an invasion of privacy and is often deployed to monitor dissidents.

Bo Zhang, who follows China’s surveillance camera market for IMS Research, told National Public Radio last year that 30 million surveillance cameras may be operating in China. That’s one for every 43 people.

Authorities are rapidly adopting new surveillance technology. As part of a crackdown this month aimed at terrorism in Xinjiang, Chinese authorities used drones and satellite communication devices to pinpoint suspects, China National Space Administration said on its official website.

Drones also have been used to monitor pollution.

More satellite imaging capability is soon to go online. China launched the second-generation Gaofen-2 satellite last Tuesday. And according to the New China News Agency, five more are to be put into orbit before 2020.

Still, China is playing catch-up with the world’s top players in satellite technology, such as the United States — both in terms of satellite capability and image analysis.

Gaofen-2, China’s most advanced satellite, is capable of capturing images of an object 3 feet long in full color; by comparison, GeoEye-1 — launched in 2008 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, provides a resolution of objects as small as 1.5 feet. And commercial satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe announced in July that it plans to launch WorldView-4, capable of capturing objects down to a resolution of about 1 foot, in mid-2016, after the U.S. Department of Commerce recently decided to allow DigitalGlobe to sell imagery with resolution as fine as about 10 inches.

As early as 2009, the U.S. authorities started using satellites to track the activities of drug cartels operating along the U.S.-Mexican border, the Associated Press has reported.

Pictures from space are being used along with other intelligence to pinpoint Mexican narcotics operations and anticipate smuggling attempts into the United States, R. Scott Zikmanis, a deputy director of operations with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, told AP.

In China, as in the U.S., the government’s increasing ability to monitor people’s activities has raised some unease among ordinary citizens, though there’s little they can do about it, except maybe stay home.

“I can’t sunbathe on my rooftop anymore. This is really annoying!” said one of the most-liked comments about Gaofen-1 on social media when word of how its images were being used hit the Chinese news.

TAIWAN SAYS CHINESE MILITARY PLANES BREACHED ITS AIRSPACE

yun8The Chinese Yun-9 (Y-9) turboprop military transport aircraft

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TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan said on Tuesday it had scrambled jets to intercept two Chinese military aircrafts, which breached its airspace four times.

The incident occurred on Monday and the Chinese planes, identified as Yun-8 transport aircraft, left without incident after Taiwanese fighter jets warned them off, Xiong Ho-ji, major general of Taiwan’s Air Force Combatant Command, told reporters.

China’s defense ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to Xiong, the Chinese aircraft were headed in the direction of the South China Sea and the Philippines.

China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the end of a civil war in 1949, and China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under Beijing’s control.

While relations have improved under the China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou, who has signed a series of landmark economic deals since taking office in 2008, deep political and military suspicions remain.

The breach of Taiwanese air space comes a week after the Pentagon lodged a diplomatic complaint with China about the conduct of a Chinese fighter jet, which it said came within meters of a U.S. Navy patrol plane.

China has said the criticism is groundless and its pilot maintained a safe distance from the U.S plane.

Ties between China and many of its neighbors have been strained by a string of territorial disputes.

CHINA CALLS U.S. WARPLANE ACCUSATIONS ‘GROUNDLESS’

CHINA-

(AFP) Beijing dismissed on Saturday the Pentagon’s accusations that a Chinese fighter jet flew too close to a US military aircraft off Hainan Island, blaming “massive and frequent” surveillance for dangerous mid-air confrontations in state media.

US Rear Admiral John Kirby had said Friday the armed Chinese warplane came close to the American surveillance aircraft three times, flying underneath the American plane, at the P-8’s nose and then in parallel with the wingtips, less than 30 feet (nine metres) apart.

In approaching the P-8 Poseidon, the Chinese jet at one point performed a barrel roll, apparently to display its weapons, in what Kirby called a “very dangerous” intercept.

China’s defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun called the claims “totally groundless” in a statement cited by the Xinhua state news agency, lashing out at the American military for conducting surveillance operations close to Chinese waters. Yang said the fighter jet pilot was a safe distance away and making regular checks on the surveillance aircraft during Tuesday’s confrontation in international waters about 135 miles (220 kilometres) east of Hainan island.

It was the United States, and its “massive and frequent close-in surveillance of China” that endangered air and marine security, Xinhua quoted Yang as saying.

The episode this week has raised tensions and underlined the growing rivalry between the United States and China, with Beijing building up its military and asserting its territorial claims across the Pacific. The move also threatened to jeopardise longstanding US efforts to bolster relations with China’s military, at a time when officials have touted progress in forging a dialogue with Beijing’s top brass.

The skies over Hainan Island were the scene of a major international incident in April 2001, when a Chinese fighter jet collided with a US Navy EP-3 spy plane.

The collision left one Chinese pilot dead and forced the American plane to make an emergency landing on Hainan. Chinese authorities initially detained the 24-member American crew for more than a week until both governments worked out a face-saving deal for their release.

Washington and Beijing have long disagreed over aviation and maritime rights in the strategic South China Sea, with the Americans insisting the area is part of international waters and airspace.

China argues it is part of the country’s “exclusive economic zone.”

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REPORT: CHINESE JET THREATENED U.S. NAVY JET NEAR JAPAN

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  • Pentagon says Chinese Jet Carried Out ‘Aggressive’ and ‘Dangerous’ Intercept of U.S. Navy Intelligence Jet
  • Su-27 flew within 20 feet of P-8 anti-submarine warfare jet in South China Sea

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NAVYJETU.S. Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft

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By Bill Gertz | Washington Free Beacon

August 22, 2014

The Pentagon on Friday called a Chinese jet’s encounter with a U.S. anti-submarine warfare aircraft an “aggressive” and “dangerous” act and said it has protested the action with Beijing.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters that the incident took place Tuesday in international airspace.

“We have registered our strong concerns to the Chinese about the unsafe and unprofessional intercept, which posed a risk to the safety and the well-being of the air crew and was inconsistent with customary international law,” Kirby said, adding that the incident was “very, very close, very dangerous.”

“Also—and we’ve made this clear—that it undermines efforts to continue developing military-to-military relations with the Chinese military.”

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CHINESEJETChinese SU-27 fighter plane / AP

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Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeff Pool said the aerial incident took place 135 miles east of Hainan Island when a Chinese J-11, a version of the Russian Su-27, came within 20 feet of a U.S. Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

“The intercept was aggressive and demonstrated a lack of due regard for the safety and well-being of the U.S. and Chinese aircrews and aircraft,” Pool said in a statement, noting it was one of the most dangerous aerial encounters with the Chinese since the April 2001 EP-3 mid-air collision with a Chinese J-8.

Pool called the encounter with the armed Chinese fighter “a dangerous intercept of a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon that was on a routine mission.”

“On three different occasions, the Chinese J-11 crossed directly under the U.S. aircraft with one pass having only 50 to 100 feet separation between the two aircraft,” the spokesman said.

“The Chinese jet also passed the nose of the P-8 at 90 degrees with its belly toward the P-8 to show its weapons loadout,” he added.

“In doing so, the pilot was unable to see the P-8, further increasing the potential for a collision,” Pool said. “The Chinese pilot then flew directly under and alongside the P-8 bringing their wingtips within 20 feet and then before he stabilized his fighter he conducted a roll over the P-8 passing within 45 feet.”

According to the Pentagon, the latest encounter is part of a rising trend of “nonstandard, unprofessional and unsafe intercepts of US aircraft” that began in late 2013.

The Chinese jet originated from the same PLA air force unit in Hainan that was responsible for other close intercepts in March, April and May, Pool said.

“We are concerned that the intercepting crews from that unit are acting aggressively and demonstrating a lack of regard for the regard for the safety of our aircrews,” he said. “We have raised our concerns over this unsafe behavior to the PRC.”

At Martha’s Vineyard, where President Obama is vacationing, Deputy White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes also criticized the Chinese for the incident that he described as a “provocation.”

“It’s obviously a deeply concerning provocation, and we have communicated directly to the Chinese government our objection to this type of action,” Rhodes said.

The incident could further complicate efforts to develop closer military relations. “What we’ve encouraged is constructive military-to-military ties with China, and this type of action clearly violates the spirit of that engagement, and we’ve made our concerns known directly to Beijing,” Rhodes said.

Defense officials said the latest encounter highlights China’s continued aggressiveness in the region.

The P-8, a new, militarized Boeing-737 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, was conducting routine surveillance of the Chinese coast over the South China Sea, not the East China Sea as initially reported by the Free Beacon.

Other defense officials said the Chinese Su-27 interceptor carried out a barrel roll over the top of the aircraft—a move described by officials as dangerous and meant to threaten the surveillance aircraft.

It was the second threatening encounter of a U.S. surveillance aircraft this year. In April, a Russian Su-27 flew within 100 feet of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft during another dangerous intercept over waters north of Japan.

One defense official said the Pentagon’s failure to produce a tough response to the April event likely spurred the Chinese to conduct the similar threatening intercept on Monday.

Chinese military officials have said they oppose all U.S. electronic surveillance flights and described ship-based monitoring of their facilities and territory an encroachment of sovereignty. U.S. military officials have said the monitoring is carried within international airspace and thus does not violate international or Chinese law.

The Chinese attempt at aerial intimidation comes amid unprecedented Chinese military exercises held recently and currently underway in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea.

On Monday, Chinese air force and navy jets conducted combat simulation drills in the East China Sea—a possible target of the P-8’s monitoring.

China also is holding international military exercises in Inner Mongolia with Russia and several Central Asia states that are part of the Beijing-led anti-U.S. alliance known as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The P-8 that was intercepted by the Su-27 is part of the Navy’s first squadron of new sub hunters deployed to Asia. Six P-8s, that can fire both missiles and torpedoes, are under the command Navy’s Seventh Fleet and are based at Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base. They support the fleet’s maritime surveillance operations as part of the U.S. pivot to Asia.

The P-8s were deployed in December—a month after China declared an air defense identification zone over the East China that encroaches on both Japanese and South Korean maritime zones. The U.S. government said it does not recognize the Chinese defense zone. China has threatened to use force to maintain its control over the area covering most of the East China Sea.

The Navy has described the P-8 as “the most advanced long range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world.” The jet also conducts maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

The U.S.-China close encounter also is a setback for Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, who has been leading Obama administration efforts to develop closer relations with the Chinese military.

Locklear has sought to play down the growing military threat from China as part of efforts to develop closer cooperation with the Chinese military.

The commander’s dovish policies are being opposed by some in the Pentagon and Air Force who are concerned that the conciliatory approach will appease the Chinese at a time when Beijing has made aggressive territorial claims in the East China Sea and South China Seas.

Rick Fisher, a China military affairs analyst, said increased U.S. surveillance flights near China are part of the United States’ strategy of responding to China’s aggressive imposition of controls in disputed maritime regions.

“In response, China is applying the same aggressive flying intimidation tactics to U.S. surveillance aircraft that it is using on Japanese surveillance aircraft,” said Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Chinese warplanes conducted similar close intercepts to Japanese P-3 aircraft in May and June, flying within 50 feet of the aircraft, Fisher said.

“The U.S. needs to consider a stronger response and make clear to China that unprovoked deadly aggression will result in an allied military response,” Fisher said.

The latest Chinese aerial assertiveness should prompt the United States to conduct mount joint fighter escorts with Japan’s military for surveillance aircraft, he said. Additionally, the Pentagon should increase the number of U.S. fighters deployed to Okinawa, and to request that the Philippines permit the stationing of a wing of fighters at Philippine air bases, as well as boost U.S. military assistance to the Manila government.

Fisher said the Chinese objective with the aggressive aerial encounters is to “make U.S. political leaders fear another ‘April 1’ incident.”

In April 2001, a Chinese F-8 interceptor crashed into a U.S. EP-3 surveillance aircraft off the southern China coast, causing the J-8 to crash and nearly causing the crash of the EP-3.

That encounter set off an international crisis after the propeller-driven U.S. aircraft made an emergency landing on China’s Hainan Island and the 24 crew members were imprisoned for 10 days.

“This kind of intimidation is intended to make White House officials fear a larger incident with China and to ‘stand down’ American surveillance flights,” Fisher said. “Beijing is hoping to take advantage of the distraction of these U.S. officials by multiple crises in Iraq and the Ukraine to push the Americans out of maritime regions in Asia that China is seeking to dominate.”

Until Monday’s encounter, China had been operating its intercepts in a more careful manner, defense officials said, describing most past encounters as “professional.”

The U.S. military has sought to engage China in talks on maritime rules of engagement and a code of conduct aimed at preventing such close encounters with limited success.

In the RC-135 encounter, the U.S. electronic surveillance aircraft was flying near the Russian Far East coast north of Japan on April 23 when an the Russian Su-27 intercepted the jet.

During that encounter, the Russian warplane rolled sideways to reveal its air-to-air missiles and then flew within 100 feet of the RC-135 cockpit. The incident was video recorded by the crew but the Pentagon declined to release the video.

The Pentagon protested the Russian encounter with officials in Moscow. However, no additional steps were taken to warn the Russians about further dangerous intercepts.

Fisher said U.S. P-8s have flown surveillance missions over the South China Sea, where China has been engaged in aggressive naval and coast guard tactics against Vietnam and Philippines over competing maritime claims.

“If such patrols are over shallower waters near to China, another ‘controlled crash’ into the P-8 could also be part of a Chinese intelligence operation to capture the latest U.S. Navy anti-submarine and patrol aircraft,” he said.

“China is just now testing its first long range anti-submarine aircraft based on the turboprop powered Y-9 transport,” he added. “Gaining insights into the twin-turbofan powered P-8 may accelerate a likely Chinese program to make an ASW/maritime patrol version of its twin-turbofan C-919 regional airliner.”

Update: This story and headlines have been updated with a statement from the Pentagon. 

-

RELATED POSTS:

WORLD WAR III AND TOTAL GLOBAL ECONOMIC COLLAPSE

CHINA’S PLAN TO USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS ON THE UNITED STATES

CHINA’S LONG RANGE PLAN FOR WAR

CHINA THINKS IT CAN DEFEAT THE UNITED STATES IN BATTLE

JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER PREPARES FOR WAR WITH CHINA

ABE HEADS TO AUSTRALIA AFTER STEP BACK FROM POST-WAR PACIFISM

KOREA AND THE “AXIS OF EVIL”

LARGEST EVER MILITARY DRILLS WITH RUSSIA, CHINA AND OTHER SCO NATIONS

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By RT

China’s Inner Mongolia is hosting the biggest military drill ever held by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The training of 7,000 servicemen from five SCO member states is set to test troops’ effectiveness in fighting terrorism.

The Peace Mission-2014 drill, being conducted from August 24 to 29 in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, was declared open by Deputy Chief of Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s General Staff Wang Ning, who is supervising the military training.

The war games have attracted a record number of troops and military hardware, never previously gathered in one place before by the SCO member states.

Armed forces from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan have come to the Zhurihe firing range to test deploy everything that might be needed to eliminate a considerable terrorist force.
 
Apart from infantry troops and special forces, the international task force has been strengthened with air defense systems, radio-electronic warfare units and aviation.
 
ARCHIVE PHOTO: The column of Russian BMP-2 during the joint Russian-Chinese exerciseы Peace Mission 2013 at the Chebarkul training ground in the Chelyabinsk region. (RIA Novosti / Pavel Lisitsyn)<br />
” />
<p class=ARCHIVE PHOTO: The column of Russian BMP-2 during the joint Russian-Chinese exerciseы Peace Mission 2013 at the Chebarkul training ground in the Chelyabinsk region. (RIA Novosti / Pavel Lisitsyn)

Gen. Wang Ning deputy Chief Staff of the People's Liberation Army (AFP Photo / Pool / Alexander F. Yuan)

Gen. Wang Ning deputy Chief Staff of the People’s Liberation Army (AFP Photo / Pool / Alexander F. Yuan)

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Russian Mi-24 helicopters during practical training held as part of the Peace Mission 2013, a Russia-China joint anti-terrorism drill, at the Chebarkul firing range. (RIA Novosti / Pavel Lisitsyn)

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Russian Mi-24 helicopters during practical training held as part of the Peace Mission 2013, a Russia-China joint anti-terrorism drill, at the Chebarkul firing range. (RIA Novosti / Pavel Lisitsyn)

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Chinese Z9B helicopters and Russian BMP-2 vehicles during practical training held as part of the Peace Mission 2013, a Russia-China joint anti-terrorism drill, at the Chebarkul firing range. (RIA Novosti / Pavel Lisitsyn)

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Chinese Z9B helicopters and Russian BMP-2 vehicles during practical training held as part of the Peace Mission 2013, a Russia-China joint anti-terrorism drill, at the Chebarkul firing range. (RIA Novosti / Pavel Lisitsyn)

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The Russian army has come to China with a tactical group of the 36th Motor Rifle Brigade from the Eastern Military District and an aviation wing of the third Command of Air Force and Air Defense Troops.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Russian servicemen during practical training held as part of the Peace Mission 2013, a Russia-China joint anti-terrorism drill, at the Chebarkul firing range. (RIA Novosti / Pavel Lisitsyn)

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Russian servicemen during practical training held as part of the Peace Mission 2013, a Russia-China joint anti-terrorism drill, at the Chebarkul firing range. (RIA Novosti / Pavel Lisitsyn)

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The Russian contingent at Peace Mission-2014 consists of 1,000 plus servicemen, 60 armored vehicles, (including 40 BMP-2 fully amphibious crawling traction infantry combat vehicles), 13 main T-72 battle tanks, more than 20 artillery and missile systems, such as self-propelled artillery SAU 2S3M guns, multiple BM-21 rocket launch systems, more than 60 vehicles of different assignments, 8 Mi-8 AMTSh helicopter gunships, 4 Sukhoi Su-25 assault jets and two Il-76 military transport airplanes.

According to the scenario, the international task force will eliminate terrorist groups in various situations and environments.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: A Type 83 self-propelled gun-howitzer of the People's Liberation Army of China during the Russian-Chinese Peace Mission 2013 anti-terror exercise at the Chebarkul training ground in the Chelyabinsk region. (RIA Novosti / Pavel Lisitsyn)

ARCHIVE PHOTO: A Type 83 self-propelled gun-howitzer of the People’s Liberation Army of China during the Russian-Chinese Peace Mission 2013 anti-terror exercise at the Chebarkul training ground in the Chelyabinsk region. (RIA Novosti / Pavel Lisitsyn)

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Self-propelled howitzer-gun "Type 83" of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) during the Russian-Chinese anti-terrorist exercises "Peace Mission 2013" on the Chebarkul range in Chelyabinsk region. (RIA Novosti / Vladislav Belogrud)

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Self-propelled howitzer-gun “Type 83″ of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) during the Russian-Chinese anti-terrorist exercises “Peace Mission 2013″ on the Chebarkul range in Chelyabinsk region. (RIA Novosti / Vladislav Belogrud)

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Unloading military equipment for ground units of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) arriving at the railway station in the Chelyabinsk region to take part in the Sino-Russian anti-terrorist exercise "Peace Mission 2013". (RIA Novosti / Vladislav Belogrud)

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Unloading military equipment for ground units of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) arriving at the railway station in the Chelyabinsk region to take part in the Sino-Russian anti-terrorist exercise “Peace Mission 2013″. (RIA Novosti / Vladislav Belogrud)

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Soldiers of the ground force units of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China march after their arrival in Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk Region, for the joint Russian-Chinese anti-terrorism military exercises "Peace Mission 2013". (RIA Novosti / Vladislav Belogrud)

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Soldiers of the ground force units of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China march after their arrival in Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk Region, for the joint Russian-Chinese anti-terrorism military exercises “Peace Mission 2013″. (RIA Novosti / Vladislav Belogrud)

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RELATED POST:

WORLD WAR III AND TOTAL GLOBAL ECONOMIC COLLAPSE

REPORT: CHINESE JET THREATENED U.S. NAVY JET NEAR JAPAN

  • Pentagon says Chinese Jet Carried Out ‘Aggressive’ and ‘Dangerous’ Intercept of U.S. Navy Intelligence Jet

  • Su-27 flew within 20 feet of P-8 anti-submarine warfare jet in South China Sea

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NAVYJETU.S. Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft

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By Bill Gertz | Washington Free Beacon

The Pentagon on Friday called a Chinese jet’s encounter with a U.S. anti-submarine warfare aircraft an “aggressive” and “dangerous” act and said it has protested the action with Beijing.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters that the incident took place Tuesday in international airspace.

“We have registered our strong concerns to the Chinese about the unsafe and unprofessional intercept, which posed a risk to the safety and the well-being of the air crew and was inconsistent with customary international law,” Kirby said, adding that the incident was “very, very close, very dangerous.”

“Also—and we’ve made this clear—that it undermines efforts to continue developing military-to-military relations with the Chinese military.”

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CHINESEJETChinese SU-27 fighter plane / AP

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Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeff Pool said the aerial incident took place 135 miles east of Hainan Island when a Chinese J-11, a version of the Russian Su-27, came within 20 feet of a U.S. Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

“The intercept was aggressive and demonstrated a lack of due regard for the safety and well-being of the U.S. and Chinese aircrews and aircraft,” Pool said in a statement, noting it was one of the most dangerous aerial encounters with the Chinese since the April 2001 EP-3 mid-air collision with a Chinese J-8.

Pool called the encounter with the armed Chinese fighter “a dangerous intercept of a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon that was on a routine mission.”

“On three different occasions, the Chinese J-11 crossed directly under the U.S. aircraft with one pass having only 50 to 100 feet separation between the two aircraft,” the spokesman said.

“The Chinese jet also passed the nose of the P-8 at 90 degrees with its belly toward the P-8 to show its weapons loadout,” he added.

“In doing so, the pilot was unable to see the P-8, further increasing the potential for a collision,” Pool said. “The Chinese pilot then flew directly under and alongside the P-8 bringing their wingtips within 20 feet and then before he stabilized his fighter he conducted a roll over the P-8 passing within 45 feet.”

According to the Pentagon, the latest encounter is part of a rising trend of “nonstandard, unprofessional and unsafe intercepts of US aircraft” that began in late 2013.

The Chinese jet originated from the same PLA air force unit in Hainan that was responsible for other close intercepts in March, April and May, Pool said.

“We are concerned that the intercepting crews from that unit are acting aggressively and demonstrating a lack of regard for the regard for the safety of our aircrews,” he said. “We have raised our concerns over this unsafe behavior to the PRC.”

At Martha’s Vineyard, where President Obama is vacationing, Deputy White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes also criticized the Chinese for the incident that he described as a “provocation.”

“It’s obviously a deeply concerning provocation, and we have communicated directly to the Chinese government our objection to this type of action,” Rhodes said.

The incident could further complicate efforts to develop closer military relations. “What we’ve encouraged is constructive military-to-military ties with China, and this type of action clearly violates the spirit of that engagement, and we’ve made our concerns known directly to Beijing,” Rhodes said.

Defense officials said the latest encounter highlights China’s continued aggressiveness in the region.

The P-8, a new, militarized Boeing-737 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, was conducting routine surveillance of the Chinese coast over the South China Sea, not the East China Sea as initially reported by the Free Beacon.

Other defense officials said the Chinese Su-27 interceptor carried out a barrel roll over the top of the aircraft—a move described by officials as dangerous and meant to threaten the surveillance aircraft.

It was the second threatening encounter of a U.S. surveillance aircraft this year. In April, a Russian Su-27 flew within 100 feet of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft during another dangerous intercept over waters north of Japan.

One defense official said the Pentagon’s failure to produce a tough response to the April event likely spurred the Chinese to conduct the similar threatening intercept on Monday.

Chinese military officials have said they oppose all U.S. electronic surveillance flights and described ship-based monitoring of their facilities and territory an encroachment of sovereignty. U.S. military officials have said the monitoring is carried within international airspace and thus does not violate international or Chinese law.

The Chinese attempt at aerial intimidation comes amid unprecedented Chinese military exercises held recently and currently underway in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea.

On Monday, Chinese air force and navy jets conducted combat simulation drills in the East China Sea—a possible target of the P-8’s monitoring.

China also is holding international military exercises in Inner Mongolia with Russia and several Central Asia states that are part of the Beijing-led anti-U.S. alliance known as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The P-8 that was intercepted by the Su-27 is part of the Navy’s first squadron of new sub hunters deployed to Asia. Six P-8s, that can fire both missiles and torpedoes, are under the command Navy’s Seventh Fleet and are based at Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base. They support the fleet’s maritime surveillance operations as part of the U.S. pivot to Asia.

The P-8s were deployed in December—a month after China declared an air defense identification zone over the East China that encroaches on both Japanese and South Korean maritime zones. The U.S. government said it does not recognize the Chinese defense zone. China has threatened to use force to maintain its control over the area covering most of the East China Sea.

The Navy has described the P-8 as “the most advanced long range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world.” The jet also conducts maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

The U.S.-China close encounter also is a setback for Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, who has been leading Obama administration efforts to develop closer relations with the Chinese military.

Locklear has sought to play down the growing military threat from China as part of efforts to develop closer cooperation with the Chinese military.

The commander’s dovish policies are being opposed by some in the Pentagon and Air Force who are concerned that the conciliatory approach will appease the Chinese at a time when Beijing has made aggressive territorial claims in the East China Sea and South China Seas.

Rick Fisher, a China military affairs analyst, said increased U.S. surveillance flights near China are part of the United States’ strategy of responding to China’s aggressive imposition of controls in disputed maritime regions.

“In response, China is applying the same aggressive flying intimidation tactics to U.S. surveillance aircraft that it is using on Japanese surveillance aircraft,” said Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Chinese warplanes conducted similar close intercepts to Japanese P-3 aircraft in May and June, flying within 50 feet of the aircraft, Fisher said.

“The U.S. needs to consider a stronger response and make clear to China that unprovoked deadly aggression will result in an allied military response,” Fisher said.

The latest Chinese aerial assertiveness should prompt the United States to conduct mount joint fighter escorts with Japan’s military for surveillance aircraft, he said. Additionally, the Pentagon should increase the number of U.S. fighters deployed to Okinawa, and to request that the Philippines permit the stationing of a wing of fighters at Philippine air bases, as well as boost U.S. military assistance to the Manila government.

Fisher said the Chinese objective with the aggressive aerial encounters is to “make U.S. political leaders fear another ‘April 1’ incident.”

In April 2001, a Chinese F-8 interceptor crashed into a U.S. EP-3 surveillance aircraft off the southern China coast, causing the J-8 to crash and nearly causing the crash of the EP-3.

That encounter set off an international crisis after the propeller-driven U.S. aircraft made an emergency landing on China’s Hainan Island and the 24 crew members were imprisoned for 10 days.

“This kind of intimidation is intended to make White House officials fear a larger incident with China and to ‘stand down’ American surveillance flights,” Fisher said. “Beijing is hoping to take advantage of the distraction of these U.S. officials by multiple crises in Iraq and the Ukraine to push the Americans out of maritime regions in Asia that China is seeking to dominate.”

Until Monday’s encounter, China had been operating its intercepts in a more careful manner, defense officials said, describing most past encounters as “professional.”

The U.S. military has sought to engage China in talks on maritime rules of engagement and a code of conduct aimed at preventing such close encounters with limited success.

In the RC-135 encounter, the U.S. electronic surveillance aircraft was flying near the Russian Far East coast north of Japan on April 23 when an the Russian Su-27 intercepted the jet.

During that encounter, the Russian warplane rolled sideways to reveal its air-to-air missiles and then flew within 100 feet of the RC-135 cockpit. The incident was video recorded by the crew but the Pentagon declined to release the video.

The Pentagon protested the Russian encounter with officials in Moscow. However, no additional steps were taken to warn the Russians about further dangerous intercepts.

Fisher said U.S. P-8s have flown surveillance missions over the South China Sea, where China has been engaged in aggressive naval and coast guard tactics against Vietnam and Philippines over competing maritime claims.

“If such patrols are over shallower waters near to China, another ‘controlled crash’ into the P-8 could also be part of a Chinese intelligence operation to capture the latest U.S. Navy anti-submarine and patrol aircraft,” he said.

“China is just now testing its first long range anti-submarine aircraft based on the turboprop powered Y-9 transport,” he added. “Gaining insights into the twin-turbofan powered P-8 may accelerate a likely Chinese program to make an ASW/maritime patrol version of its twin-turbofan C-919 regional airliner.”

Update: This story and headlines have been updated with a statement from the Pentagon. 

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