China’s Risky Air Maneuvers Raise the Specter of an International Crisis
MIN READJun 8, 2022 | 19:00 GMT
A digital illustration shows a jet overlaying the Chinese and Australian flags.
China’s aggressive maneuvers performed while intercepting Western surveillance aircraft increase the chance of a mid-air collision and subsequent international crisis, with higher probabilities of escalation than in the past. On June 5, Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles said that a Chinese J-16 fighter jet had on May 26 intercepted an Australian P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft in international airspace over the South China Sea. According to Marles, the J-16 flew dangerously close to the P-8, deployed flares alongside it, and released aluminum chaff designed to distract radar-guided missiles in front of the aircraft. The P-8 then returned to base after its engines ingested some of the aluminum decoys. The news of this interception follows similar accusations from Canada of China breaching international air safety norms. On June 1, the Canadian armed forces said Chinese jets repeatedly flew close to a Canadian CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft over the East China Sea between...