The Department of Defense (DOD) issued a statement revealing that American aircraft have had roughly 180 hostile encounters with Chinese aircraft over the last two years.
Fox News reports that Pentagon officials published evidence of this trend during a press conference on Tuesday, with Assistant Defense Secretary for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner saying that “since the fall of 2021, we have seen more than 180 such incidents.”
“More in the past two years than in the decade before that,” Ratner noted. “That’s nearly 200 cases where PLA operators have performed reckless maneuvers or discharged chaff or shot off flares or approach to rapidly or too close to U.S. aircraft.”
The reports depict a clear pattern in recent years of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) making use of sudden and disruptive violations of the airspace around American aircraft in order to intimidate the United States and any potential allies.
“All as part of trying to interfere with the ability of U.S. forces to operate safely in places where we and every country in the world have every right to be under international law,” Ratner continued. “And when you take into account cases of coercive and risky PLA intercepts against other states, the number increases to nearly 300 cases against U.S. ally and partner aircraft over the last two years.”
The briefing featured a document detailing all of the key incidents over the last two years, including previously classified images and videos from various encounters between American and Chinese pilots.
“Intercepts happen every day around the world. The vast majority are conducted safely and without incident, and there’s no reasons for the intercepts with the PRC in the Indo-Pacific region to be any different,” said Indo-Pacom Commander Admiral John Aquilino.
I’m here today because it’s the operational commander’s number one responsibility to ensure the safety of our servicemembers, and it’s a responsibility I take very seriously,” Admiral Aquilino continued. “So highlighting these behaviors and ensuring that we can prevent them is a top priority.”