BEIJING, Jan. 1 -- The Chinese PLA Southern Theater Command released a written statement on Saturday night to rebut the US military's recent smear, saying that the US deliberately misled the public opinion, distorted fact, blamed the innocent and attempted to fool the international community.
The US Indo-Pacific Command recently claimed in a statement that a PLAN J-11 fighter jet performed a so-called "unsafe maneuver" against a USAF RC-135 plane. Air Force Senior Colonel Tian Junli, spokesperson for the Chinese PLA Southern Theater Command, said in a statement in response to media that the US military's statement ignores facts and is nothing but slander and speculation.
The spokesperson pointed out that on December 21, a US RC-135 aircraft conducted intentional close-in reconnaissance in the vicinity of China's southern coastline and the Xisha Islands of Hainan province. The PLA Southern Theater Command deployed air assets to track and monitor the US aircraft throughout the process. During the process, in disregard of repeated warnings from the Chinese pilot, the US aircraft abruptly changed its flight attitude and forced the Chinese aircraft to the left. Such a dangerous approaching maneuver seriously affected the flight safety of the Chinese military aircraft, seriously violating the US-China Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) On the Rules of Behavior for the Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters and the relevant international laws and practices.
The spokesperson stressed that the Chinese pilot handled the incident in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, and conducted professional and standard operations, which fully demonstrated the Chinese military's responsible attitude towards regional security and the safety of front-line personnel.
"We sternly demand the US side to restrain the operations of its front-line air and naval troops, strictly abide by relevant international laws and agreements, and prevent any accidental event at sea and in the air," said the spokesperson at the end of the statement, adding that the Chinese military will always stay on high alert and firmly perform their duties and missions to safeguard China's sovereignty and security.
This video released by the Chinese PLA Southern Theater Command shows that the US RC-135 aircraft abruptly changed its flight attitude and performed dangerous approaching maneuver at 11:25:17 a.m. (Beijing Time) on December 21, 2022.