Chinese Jet Nearly Hits U.S. Bomber Over South China Sea

( – U.S. officials released footage of a Chinese jet rapidly approaching and getting dangerously close to a U.S. B-52 bomber traveling above the South China Sea. In their official press statement, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command claimed that the jet came within 10 feet of the bomber, threatening a crash and an international incident. They called the maneuver “poor airmanship” and suggested the pilot was unaware of how dangerous his behavior was due to limited visibility, as the encounter took place at night.

Pentagon officials said that the Chinese J-11 jet approached with “excessive speed” and proceeded to fly around the bomber. They further said that their plane was complying with all international norms and was fully within legal airspace at the time of the encounter.

In their official press release the military said that they’ve had similar encounters with Chinese airmen in the past, approximating 180 interactions like this one since the fall of 2021. In a June 2023 incident, a Chinese naval vessel abruptly altered its course to cross the path of an American destroyer forcing the latter to slow its speed to avoid a collision. That incident occurred in the Taiwan Strait during a time of increased tension between Taiwan and mainland China.

The Department of Defense previously released descriptions and videos of 15 prior interactions with Chinese military airplanes behaving with “coercive and risky operational behavior.” This marked the first time a Chinese jet had harassed a U.S. bomber, however.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with Wang Yi, a Chinese top-level diplomat during the latter’s three-day stop in America to smooth over tensions between the two superpowers. Wang qualified incidents like the above as “disagreements” and spoke positively about his hope for future positive interactions between the two states.

In the coming weeks, San Francisco will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit where President Joe Biden is expected to have face time with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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