Close encounter between US-China militaries captured by radio amateur

Close encounter between US-China militaries captured by radio amateur

  • Scratchy audio appears to record the moment an American plane is warned by Chinese navy to change course or be intercepted
  • Encounter fuels fears that tensions between the two countries may spark an armed conflict

The Chinese navy has warned off a US military plane that briefly flew close to the southern coast of China, north of the Taiwan Strait, according to a Beijing-based think tank.

In a 34-second scratchy radio recording released by the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI), a think tank based in Beijing, a man – purported to be a Chinese naval official – can be heard saying in English: “This is China Naval Air Force on guard, you are approaching Chinese air domain, change your course immediately or you will be intercepted.”

He then repeated the warning in Mandarin Chinese.

The institute said on its Twitter account that the recording was captured on Thursday morning by a radio amateur. It remains unclear which aircraft was involved, or if there was any face-off in the air.

China has accused the US of deploying surveillance aircraft close to its coastlines over recent weeks as part of an effort to monitor military activities in the region. On Wednesday, a US Navy P-8A Poseidon – designed for anti-submarine warfare – was spotted flying south of Taiwan over the South China Sea, the same day a US army RC-12X Guardrail was sighted over the Yellow Sea, according to SCSPI.