Reports show that the Pentagon released images and videos from 15 incidences that revealed Chinese jets engaged in intimidating and reckless maneuvers, coming as close to U.S. jets as 20 feet.
The photographs and videos that were provided on Tuesday are only a small sample of the activities that the Pentagon believes to be a coordinated effort by China to influence U.S. strategy in the region.
Since late 2021, there have been over 180 instances of hostile and potentially dangerous behavior directed at U.S. jets. According to Indo-Pacific Defense Assistant Secretary Ely Ratner, there have been more occurrences in the last two years compared to the previous decade combined.
According to media outlets, Ratner claimed there had been roughly 200 instances of PLA (People’s Liberation Army) operators engaging in risky maneuvers, shooting flares, discharging chaff, or approaching U.S. aircraft too quickly or too closely in an effort to compromise their security.
A Chinese fighter plane can be seen releasing flares above the East China Sea in a declassified recording from July. The Pentagon claims the jet fired eight flares at a U.S. plane from a distance of only 900 feet. The most recent footage is from September, when, according to the Pentagon, a Chinese fighter came within 50 feet of a U.S. jet.
According to Ratner, the Chinese provocation doesn’t stop at the sky; they actively harass American naval vessels.
The declassified videos are being released in advance of the DOD’s yearly submission of the Chinese Military Power Report to Congress, which details the components of China’s expanding military. According to Ratner, the annual report for this year will explain the rise in Chinese harassment tactics.
The United States Department of Defense considers Chinese military conflicts to be a deliberate policy.
According to a report, Ratner claimed that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had discussed the incidents privately with his Chinese counterparts when the chance arose.