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China denies intercepting US aircraft

BEIJING (AFP) – China has denied US allegations that two Chinese fighter jets intercepted an American military plane earlier this week, saying that its aircrafts were acting “in accordance with the law.”

“Related remarks from the US side are inconsistent with fact,” the Chinese Ministry of Defense said in a statement posted to its website late Friday. “On May 17, a US reconnaissance aircraft was carrying out an operation in airspace over the Chinese Yellow Sea (the northern part of the East China Sea), and Chinese aircrafts acted to identify and investigate in accordance with the law,” the statement said, calling the action “professional” and “safe.”

The US Air Force said in an earlier statement Friday that its plane, a WC-135 Constant Phoenix, was conducting a “routine mission” in international airspace when it was intercepted by two Chinese Sukhoi SU-30 fighter aircrafts.

“The WC-135 was operating in accordance with international law. While we are still investigating the incident, initial reports from the US aircrew characterized the intercept as unprofessional,” the Air Force said. (AFP)