US says flight over Sea of Japan was safe, lawful

AP News
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Posted: May 24, 2016 12:24 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. says an Air Force reconnaissance flight over the Sea of Japan that triggered a Russian protest was conducted safely and according to international law.

Russia's Defense Ministry protested the Sunday flight by the U.S. RC-135, saying it jeopardized air safety. The ministry summoned the U.S. military attache to complain about the incident.

Moscow says the aircraft was flying with its transponder switched off and was at an altitude used by civilian flights in that area.

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, says the plane flew a routine reconnaissance mission with due regard for the safety of navigation of all aircraft, and the flight was professional and completed without incident.

The U.S. says the flight posed no risk to aircraft at any time.