Chinese fighter jets are accused of an “unprofessional” intercept of a US Air Force plane — including flying upside-down above the aircraft in a move apparently inspired by the Tom Cruise movie Top Gun.
The two Chinese Su-30 jets came within 150ft of a US “radiation sniffer” plane during an encounter over the Yellow Sea, which divides the Korean peninsular from the Chinese coast.
Air Force spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Lori Hodge said: “The issue is being addressed with China through appropriate diplomatic and military channels.”
She added that US concerns were based on reports from the crew aboard the WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft “due to the manoeuvres by the Chinese pilot, as well as the speeds and proximity of both aircraft.”
“Distances always have a bearing on how we characterise interactions,” she said, adding that an investigation into the intercept was underway.
She said the WC-135, which monitors elements that nuclear tests emit, was carrying out a routine mission in accordance with international law.
The Trump administration has has continued to increase pressure on North Korea to rein in its military ambitions amid a spate of ballistic and nuclear tests.
The incident between the US aircraft and two Chinese planes on Wednesday is the second this year. In February, we reported how a Chinese surveillance plane and a US Navy P-3 Orion aircraft experienced what US officials called an “unsafe” near miss over the South China Sea.