It almost sparked a war… a 15-minute air confrontation between China and America

Muhammad Jamal wrote

Saturday, February 25, 2023 09:19 PM

A Chinese fighter plane and warship equipped with an attack payload intercepted a US Navy plane over the South China Sea, which is witnessing a struggle for influence between Beijing and Washington, according to Sky News.

According to what was reported by CNN, the confrontation took place on Friday, over the South China Sea, 30 miles from the disputed Paracel Islands that contain military bases, during which a tense dialogue took place between the crews of these weapons.

Journalists from the network, who were on board the American reconnaissance plane, reported that the Chinese pilots contacted the pilot of the American plane, telling him: “Do not approach it, or you will bear all responsibility.”

The Chinese plane was loaded with “air-to-air” missiles, and it seems that they got close enough to allow them to engage easily, and the Chinese plane accompanied the American plane for a full 15 minutes before moving away from it by leaving the area, as the journalists monitored.

After the plane moved away, its crew was surprised by the appearance of a Chinese missile destroyer following them, and the aircraft commander, First Lieutenant Slaughter, said that the warship was loaded with dozens of surface-to-air missiles, and communicated with us, telling us: “You are approaching me at a low altitude, reveal your intention, you offer my safety.” at risk.”

Slaughter replied to the ship: “The American aircraft will keep a safe distance.”

For years, the South China Sea has emerged as a potential major point of tension in the Asia-Pacific region, between China on the one hand, and the United States and its allies in the region on the other, for overlapping reasons:

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Paracel Island, near which the US plane was intercepted, is the subject of territorial claims by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

This region contains a strategic waterway with huge resources of fish, oil and gas, and about a third of global freight worth $3.4 trillion passes through it.

China says that it has the historical jurisdiction over almost the entire vast sea, and since 2014 it has built small coral reefs and sand barriers on artificial islands that are heavily fortified with missiles, runways and weapons systems. This angered the other claimants.

In recent months, the South China Sea region has been witnessing maneuvers and counter-maneuvers by China on the one hand, and the United States and its allies on the other, to assert presence and influence.

Paracels Islands

They are the islands called Xisha Islands by China, located in the northern part of the South China Sea, east of Vietnam, and south of China’s Hainan Island.

In 2016, in a case brought by the Philippines, an international court in The Hague ruled that China’s claim of historical rights to the bulk of the sea had no legal basis.

China conducts regular military exercises in most areas of the South China Sea, and maintains a large coast guard and fishing vessel presence in the disputed waters; This often led to tensions with its neighbours.

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