USAF calls Chinese intercept of American plane 'unprofessional'

Two Chinese fighter jets conducted an "unprofessional" intercept of a US radiation-detecting plane in global airspace over the Yellow Sea off the Korean Peninsula, the USA military said Friday.

Earlier, a USA official told CNN the Chinese jets came within 150 feet of the U.S. plane, with one of the Su-30s flying inverted, or upside down, directly above the American plane.

The U.S. aircraft, a WC-135 Constant Phoenix, is commonly referred to a "sniffer" because it detects signs of nuclear activity in the atmosphere by "sniffing".

Officials told NBC China's actions are being addressed through "appropriate diplomatic channels".

The US crew aboard the US Air Force WC-135 characterized the move as "unprofessional", according to the statement from Air Force Lt. Col. Hodge. The report added that the crew of the USA aircraft described the intercept as "unprofessional".

She said the WC-135 was carrying out a routine mission at the time and was operating in accordance with global law. The collected samples can be analyzed to determine exactly what occurred.

The four-engine USA plane looks for airborne evidence of possible nuclear tests.

China's suspicion of United States activity near the resource-rich worldwide waters off its coast has repeatedly led to tensions between the two countries.

"In general, they don't like to see the US military in the Yellow Sea and throw brushback pitches against recon aircraft from time to time", Pollack said. A Chinese Shaanxi KJ-200 aerial warning and control aircraft flew within 1,000 feet of a U.S. Navy P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft in February, forcing the latter to alter course. The planes came within 1,000 feet of each other, USA officials said.

  • Zachary Reyes