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Tipsheet

Chinese Military Warns U.S. Navy Plane to Stay Away or 'Pay Full Responsibility'

Taiwan Ministry of Defense via AP

The Chinese military had a warning for the U.S. after an encounter escalated tensions between the two countries. 

A U.S. Navy P-8 plane was recently flying 30 miles outside the South China Sea when it received a radio call from China to move away from its airspace. 

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“No approaching anymore, or you will pay full responsibility,” an operative of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said over the radio.

Lt. Nikki Slaughter, who was piloting the U.S. Navy P-8 aircraft at the time, quickly responded just as a Chinese jet armed with air-to-air missiles came up alongside them.

“PLA fighter aircraft, this is U.S. Navy P-8A. I have you off my left wing, and I intend to proceed to the west. I request that you do the same, over,” Slaughter said. 

The Chinese pilot continued to escort the U.S. plane for 15 minutes as it flew a few hundred feet away.

Capt. Will Toraason, the commander of U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft, said that these encounters are becoming more frequent in the South China Sea as China attempts to take control of the area. 

“Typically, we don’t get a response; sometimes, we’ll get nonverbal responses. But overall, we’re trying to encourage a safe and professional encounter while we’re both operating in international airspace,” Torasson said, who was on the plane at the time of the incident. 

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Cmdr. Marc Hines told NBC News that he has been in the Navy for nearly 20 years and has seen a dramatic change in China due to the country building artificial islands and runways in the South China Sea. 

The incident comes weeks after the U.S. shot down a Chinese spy balloon hovering over the country for several days. China called the U.S.’s reaction to the balloon “hysterical” and that it was “absurd” to have shot it down. 

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