Close Encounter: Chinese Fighter Jet Comes Within 10 Feet of US Bomber in the South China Sea, Confirms US Military

Close Encounter: Chinese Fighter Jet Comes Within 10 Feet of US Bomber in the South China Sea, Confirms US Military

A Chinese fighter jet dangerously approached a US Air Force B-52 bomber within 10 feet over the South China Sea on October 24, according to US Indo-Pacific Command

According to the US military, a Chinese fighter jet flew dangerously close to a US Air Force B-52 bomber over the South China Sea on Tuesday. The Chinese pilot's actions were deemed unsafe and unprofessional. The pilot displayed poor airmanship by approaching the B-52 at excessive speed, flying below it, in front of it, and within a distance of just 10 feet. This put both aircraft at risk of colliding. The US Indo-Pacific Command expressed concern that the pilot may not have been aware of the dangerously close proximity that could have resulted in a collision.

President Joe Biden is scheduled to have a conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the White House on Friday, according to CNN's report on Thursday. The nature of the meeting, whether formal or informal, remains uncertain. Additionally, Wang is expected to hold discussions with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday and national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Friday. While there is no official confirmation from either side, there is a possibility of a meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the APEC Summit in San Francisco next month.

Earlier this month, Ely Ratner, the top official in charge of security in the Indo-Pacific at the Pentagon, stated that the United States has witnessed an increase in instances of "coercive and risky" actions by Chinese pilots towards US aircraft in the East and South China Seas within the past two years, surpassing the total number from the previous decade. Ratner mentioned that since the fall of 2021, more than 180 such incidents have been reported, indicating a deliberate and coordinated effort to engage in these hazardous behaviors with the aim of pressuring the US to alter its lawful operational conduct.

The lack of response from Chinese military leadership to the Pentagon's efforts this year has raised concerns among US officials. There has been a noticeable absence of military-to-military dialogue between the two countries, causing growing worry. Chinese leaders became infuriated after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last year, leading Beijing to sever communication channels. Adm. John Aquilin, the INDOPACOM commander, expressed his disappointment in not being able to engage with his counterparts in the eastern and southern theater commands for the past two and a half years. His requests have consistently been declined.

China's utilization of its immense military strength extends beyond the South China Sea and encompasses Taiwan, as it seeks to assert its sovereignty. As outlined in the latest National Defense Strategy, the United States has identified China as the primary "pacing challenge," capable of rivaling America's military capabilities, economic influence, and global presence. Notably, Beijing boasts an army exceeding one million soldiers, the world's largest navy in terms of ship count, and the region's largest air force.

In 2022, there was a rise in the Chinese military's aggressive activities towards the independent island territory of Taiwan. These actions involved ballistic missile overflights, military aircraft trespassing into Taiwan's aerial identification zone, and significant military exercises conducted in close proximity to the island. Despite Xi's claim of pursuing a peaceful unification of Taiwan with China, he has not ruled out the possibility of employing military force to accomplish his objective.