A US Navy Spy Plane Collided With A Chinese Fighter Jet, Crashed Into Rivers Below

A US Navy Spy Plane Collided With A Chinese Fighter Jet, Crashed Into Rivers Below

A US Navy spy plane collided with a chinese fighter jet crashed into rivers below a united states navy spy plane on a routine surveillance mission near the chinese coast collided on sunday with a chinese fighter jet that was closely tailing it.

The american plane made an emergency landing in china and the united states said it was seeking the immediate return of the 24 crew members. All said to be in good condition and of the sophisticated aircraft and all its intelligence equipment.

The mid-air crash occurred about 50 miles southeast of china's hainan island in what american officials described as international waters. The EP-3E aries ii aircraft which had taken off from an american air base in Okinawa, Japan issued a mayday call but managed to make an emergency landing on the island.

The chinese plane crashed into the waters below. China's foreign ministry spokesman said a search was underway for the pilot and chinese state television broadcast an angry statement on sunday night saying that the u.s side has total responsibility for this event.

But commander-in-chief of the united states pacific command said chinese planes had become increasingly aggressive in tailing american military aircraft in recent months. Even prompting the united states to register a protest. It's not a normal practice to play bumper cars in the air, he said.

In Washington president advisors finding themselves dealing for the first time with a sensitive military incident with the chinese, went to some lengths to avoid ascribing blame. And instead they immediately focused their attention on an airport in the city of Lingshui on Hainan, where the damaged plane was sitting on the tarmac.

Whether the crew members were still on board was unclear. The question now is do we have access to the crew, when do we get the crew back and how do we get the aircraft back, said one administration official.

This is going to be a test of everyone's ability to stay cool and work things out. The White House said diplomats from the american embassy in Beijing and other american officials based in china, were traveling to Hainan and would seek to escort the crew members out of the country and make sure the chinese did not inspect or remove the equipment aboard the plane.

It was not clear if the americans erased any data they had collected or sought to disable any of their equipment. The incident comes at a particularly sensitive moment of transition in washington's relations with Beijing.

Within weeks u.s president is to make a decision on whether to sell sophisticated arms and radar equipment to taiwan and how the two countries handle this incident may color the internal debate within the administration over what kind of technology to provide to the taiwanese.

Chinese officials meanwhile are likely to use the incident to take their measure of the U.S administration. They are already highly sensitive to what they believe is a tougher posture toward china. One that views china as a military competitor first in a trade partner second.

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