Two Chinese Fighter Jets Repelled US Spy Aircraft In Taiwan Strait Last Month

Tyler Durden's picture

China continues to flex its wings, in this case literally. The FT reports that last month two Chinese Su-27 jets crossed the middle line in the Taiwan Strait to repel a US spy aircraft. "This marks the first known encounter between US and Chinese military aircraft in mid-air since a US reconnaissance aircraft collided with a Chinese fighter jet in 2001 and was forced to land on Hainan island, sparking a crisis that severely damaged bilateral relations." And while this is certainly not the first such incident, it is the first one disclosed publicly, with the sole purpose of humiliating the US. Furthermore, recent tensions in the South China seas (profiled previously here) have become a big sticking point for the US administration so it should not be surprising that China will do everything in its power to embarrass America before the global community, a task in which it has just succeeded.

More from the FT:

Highlighting the strategic rivalry between the two countries in the region and the security risks remaining between China and Taiwan despite the recent detente between the two, Taipei moved to downplay the incident.


Taiwan’s defence ministry confirmed that two Chinese Su-27 fighter jets had briefly crossed the so-called middle line on June 29 but added the incident was not a provocation.


“This was not between Taiwan and China, but between China and the US,” said a senior Taiwanese defence official. “The Chinese crossed the line to repel a perceived intrusion by a US reconnaissance aircraft.”


A Chinese defence source said: “This once again shows that US military activity very close to our territory is a destabilising factor in the region.”

What would be even more disturbing is if China uses US "regional intervention" to continue with its encroaching approach to demonstrate that Taiwan has always really been part of the fatherland.

Chinese military aircraft have not crossed that line since July 1999. That summer, the People’s Liberation Army Airforce, which normally rarely patrolled the area, flew hundreds of sorties over the Taiwan Strait. That incident came after Lee Teng-hui, then Taiwan’s president, described ties with China as special state-to-state relations, coming closer than ever to declaring the island’s independence.


The Taiwanese official said the island’s air force sent two of its fighters up in reaction to the intrusion of the Chinese jets. He said there had not been any direct contact with the Chinese military, and the aircraft had not come dangerously close to each other at any time during the incident.


US military surveillance missions close to China both at sea and in the air are a sore point in relations between the world’s military superpower and the nation believed to be its most likely challenger.

Lastly, "China’s Ministry of Defence could not be reached for comment." Understandable: at this point all China domestic resources are scrambled to contain (read censor) the fallout from this weekend's bullet train collision.

As for what happens next, we look forward to a statement from Clinton, who has yet to issue an official statement on an act many, on either side, would consider a provocation (and retaliation).

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redpill's picture

Why are we dicking around with China anyway, don't we have enough shit to worry about as it is?

qussl3's picture

The US stands to benefit the most with an internal destabilzation of China, less competition for oil and destruction of offshored manufacturing.

Tho is suspect US vs China has less to do with US interests but more with maintaining the dominance of the string pullers we do not see.

redpill's picture

It's flawed logic, and stems from the same failed megalomanical viewpoint that the US can control the world.  We should knock it off before we make things even worse.

dlmaniac's picture

Obama sent the spy plane out in a desperate attempt to find out how much more debt China is willing to add to finance his 2nd term.

tekhneek's picture

Aw c'mon, what about tradition?

papaswamp's picture

Best way to get the US economy and manufacturing base kicked to life….WW3. You it's sickening, but wars cost money…which means they make money. they also tend to polarize nations. Common enemy gets everyone on the same page.

Missiondweller's picture

No need for that. We can declare China a "currency manipulator" and slap a 25% trariff on their goods or even demand "safety inspenctions" on all CHinese goods coming to the US (The same tactics the Japanese used againts us in the 80's). This would essentially stop all commerce.

The resulting demand for manufacturing jobs in the US would be enough to reduce unemployment by 5% but would of course, cause an economic war with China dumping all US treasuries.

Chief KnocAHoma's picture

Chill pill... our pilots were just looking for the best Kung Pow Chicken in the World. Where else should they go?


I am The Chief

dwdollar's picture

I'm not sure if this was on zerohedge.  I just learnt about it this past weekend...

Fishy Chips: Spies Want to Hack-Proof Circuits [From China]

dwdollar's picture

I doubt people understand the gravity of corrupted ICs from China.  There could be commericial chips which currently have kill switches (not just military, which is less likely since presumabley at least some of them are tested for such things).

What does that mean to you?  Either you pay up or your electronics are turned off.

dwdollar's picture

Don't worry though.  Just pretend I'm wearing a tinfoil hat and forget about it.

Broomer's picture

It is true for both sides. Your computer can be disabled by Microsoft if you use Windows.

dwdollar's picture

If it does I'm sure they are fully aware of it.  How many people does Microsoft outsource again?  I doubt the typical IC fabricator based in Chongqing does much outsourcing.

Hacked Economy's picture

That's why I have a separate laptop that I NEVER connect to the Interwebs.  I use it as an offline backup.  Currently for things like Powerpoint presentations and piddly stuff, but it's a backup nonetheless...just in case.

Bobbyrib's picture

AAPL is not just a stock.

KCMLO's picture

Any word on the type of "spy" aircraft they intercepted?  That could be very telling...

HungrySeagull's picture

We have any number or types of Electronic Birds in our Inventory. Any of which would have done welll.

Feels like the old Cold War days all over again.

I hope we had a few Raptors in the area in chase if the Chinese did some shooting....

Conrad Murray's picture

Those junk buckets have been grounded since May for being pieces of shit that kill our Airmen.

KCMLO's picture

Well I used to fly on one of those during my AF days.  Hence my curiosity.  However, the different aircraft type/variant would let me know what we were doing there.  Some of them are wise to intercept, and some of them are silly (like Hainan EP-3 incident).

terryg999's picture

Me too!  As a 208.



KCMLO's picture

:) just to show how often they shake these things up, I'm not sure what a 208 is anymore.  I was a 1A8 (but that's just AF terminology for that period [98-2004] so it could be meaningless now).

terryg999's picture

Chinese linguist circa the 80's.

I feel old!

Also, spent 5 years at Clark in it's heyday......I feel young again

KCMLO's picture

Nice!  I was a Serbian/Croatian Linguist.  Spent 2 great years at Mildenhall, UK actually doing something, and then 3 years at Offutt AFB trying not to lose my mind with boredom and additional (ie busywork) duties.  Offutt was my first introduction to government waste.  Over 400 enlisted aviators (mostly linguists) which cost about $2 mil to train a piece sitting around doing nothing.  Of course the ground training equipment we had (which we frequently had to dust off, no shit) was probably worth about $250 mil as well.

DosZap's picture


I wish the unarmed US aircraft had ignored the Chinese aircraft............they actually think they would shoot it down?.

China is not STUPID.

KCMLO's picture

I wouldn't gamble a pilot and a U2 on that, especially considering the fighter reaction might be what they were going for in the first place.  Considering how close they were flying to the Chinese mainland, the Chinese might have been well within their right to shoot it down.  Doesn't mean they would, but if you already have the intel you want, why risk anything more?

Missiondweller's picture

Almost certainly a drone these days. Global Hawk?

KCMLO's picture

According to this article:

It was a U2.  They have a comms suite available for that which has a wide footprint for communications intercept, but given how close they were to China's coast that would have bee unneccesary.  Probably an imagery run.  It probably wasn't done intentionally to provoke a fighter response (we do that all the time) considering the on-board equipment wouldn't glean much from the fighters, maybe the ground controller reaction.  I'm thinking it was an imagery run of the Chinese navy in the area.  Not exactly the brightest way to do it...

Transitory Disinflation's picture

Also hardly any coverage of that "missile" that was launched off the coast of California either.

Manthong's picture

Linking to articles that you need a subscription to read is irritating.

A note indicating that a subsription is required to access link would avoid wasted bits, bandwidth and time.

Ghordius's picture

ZH! By Jingo! Where did you get this "...with the sole purpose of humiliating the US" from? Murdoch? The Sun? Fox News?

With phrases like "...the sole military superpower and the nation believed to be its most likely challenger" you behave like the worst tabloids before a new aggression war.

China has never shown much military interest beyond their own territory (ok, ok, Taiwan is a special case).

The spy plane was there. China and the US Fleets have those tussles in the straits of Taiwan since DECADES.

Please, don't "break the news" like it never happened before. It's not financials, it's politics-as-usual.

HungrySeagull's picture

I agree. I have been around for Decades and the pushing of "Breaking News" is new to the children who are becoming of age unaware of History because our Public Schools have failed them.

These incidents will continue as they have. It's a very... dangerous game that we must endure to gather any kind of information we can. The Chinese are doing the same with us as well.

Ghordius's picture

You mean young people in the USA are not aware of the purpose of the US Fleets and their seasonal engagements?

This one goes back to the fifties .

It's usually the Seventh Fleets playground. Got to ask my nephews in Florida if they ever heard of it...

InconvenientCounterParty's picture

Teach the children to critically evaluate new information presented. That skill will open the door to others.

Of course, if you are a conservative, teach them to ignore the urge to have new ideas and just listen to religious leaders, their parents, faux news and other approved sources.


Vergeltung's picture

mono-focused moron that you are, can you not see the same orthodoxy on the left? I imagine not.....

Rodent Freikorps's picture

That's a nice False Choice you present. I give it a six.

The irony is you are championing critical thinking. Heh.

ibjamming's picture

WTF???  You think the "right" are the on;y ones with fucked up ideas?

oa92000's picture

china is an evil country, we shold hit them hard.

goldfish1's picture

Note to Tyler:

A captcha for the ignorant and uninformed might be a solution to the above.

arby63's picture

Without being completely "tongue in cheek," I say fuck the bastards. Defeating China would be pretty darn easy: Just close all the Wal Marts.

Laddie's picture

In April 2001, China shot down a US Jet with Israeli supplied PYTHON missiles. The Python is an Israeli short-range air-to-air missile, which is a re-engineered version of the U.S.-made AIM-9 “Sidewinder.”

optimator's picture

Note that the Chinese don't use the J-10 (U.S. engineered Israeli Lavi) for these intereptions of American recon assets like the U-2 (TR-2 as the U-2 is now modified).

suteibu's picture

Clinton has already given an answer.  At this weekend's ASEAN Forum (obviously after this incident), Clinton declared that the US was a "resident power" in Asia.

The US must be using Okinawa and South Korea to fulfill their Asian residency requirement.

Rodent Freikorps's picture

The Strait of Malacca is kind of important. It is a legitmate strategic concern.

suteibu's picture

A "resident power"?  That might be stretching it a bit.

bugs_'s picture

be careful going up against Wong Wei

Lazane's picture

the day of the great war between the yangs and the coms maybe just around the next corner

Hannibal's picture

SO,..Dont fuck with China's front yard,!