Pentagon releases footage of hundreds of ‘highly concerning’ aircraft intercepts by Chinese planes

Washington, October 18

The Pentagon has released footage of some of the more than 180 intercepts of US warplanes by Chinese aircraft that have occurred in the last two years — more than the total amount over the previous decade and part of a trend US military officials called concerning.

The photos and video were released in advance of a soon-to-be issued annual report by the Pentagon on the China’s military power and the security threats it may pose to partners in the Indo-Pacific.

The Pentagon has tried for years to posture itself to be ready for a potential conflict with China over Taiwan even as it now finds itself supporting allies in two hot wars, Ukraine in Europe and Israel in the Middle East.

Admiral John Acquilino, head of US Indo-Pacific Command, said at a Pentagon press briefing Tuesday that despite the US surging carrier strike groups and amphibious ships to support Israel, and now almost 20 months of war in Ukraine, “I haven’t had one piece of equipment or force structure depart” his command, referring to ships, aircraft and military units.

“All of these examples we’ve released today underscore the coercive intent of (China) by engaging in behaviors particularly in international airspace,” said Ely Ratner, assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs. “The bottom line is that in many cases, this type of operational behavior can cause active and dangerous accidents” and can lead inadvertently to conflict, Ratner said.

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