Two Chinese J-10 fighter jets came within several hundred feet of a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion over the South China Sea on Thursday local time, U.S. officials said.
The fighters flew 200 yards in front of the P-3 maritime surveillance aircraft with an altitude separation of 100 feet, an encounter the commander of the U.S. aircraft determined as “unsafe and unprofessional,” U.S. officials said.
According to a U.S. official, the Chinese jets were weaving ahead of the American plane, an action that concerned the U.S. pilot.
The activity occurred 150 miles southeast of Hainan Island in the northern part of the South China Sea.
A U.S. official said the U.S. plans to address the incident with China through diplomatic and military channels.