NAt a press conference at the Pentagon, United States Under Secretary of Defense for the Indo-Pacific Ely Ratner explained that these Chinese aircraft movements have increased significantly since the fall of 2021.
The official said that there have been more than 180 incidents in the last two years, a number that exceeds that of the entire decade prior to this period.
Among the incidents that cause the most “concern”, he recalled the number of occasions in which Chinese aviation pilots get “too close” to North American aviation or try to “interfere” so that they can operate “safely”.
The number increases to 300 if cases against planes from other allied countries are taken into account.
The images “speak for themselves”, said Ely Ratner, stressing that they show North American planes moving “safely and responsibly” and said that their “professionalism should not be the only thing” that allows fatal accidents to be avoided and “disasters” in the East and South China Seas.
“The Secretary of Defense [Lloyd Austin] I have said it on several occasions, China can and must put an end to this behavior. Period,” he added.
The commander of the US fleet in the area, John C. Aquilino, said he was “more concerned” about the potential actions that such movements could provoke.
As an example, he stated that he has seen Chinese planes approach American planes at a distance of less than 5 meters for 45 minutes.
The first thing that North American planes do is try to establish communication to avoid an accident, and sometimes they get a response, but other times they don’t, or they don’t receive an adequate response, he added, highlighting that some videos show these behaviors.
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