US spy plane enters no-fly zone during Chinese live-fire naval drill

US spy plane enters no-fly zone during Chinese live-fire naval drill

  • Beijing lodges formal protest with Washington over ‘serious violation’ of safety code and warns of potential mishaps
  • United States says flight was within international rules and pledges that missions will continue

The US has sent spy planes over a live-fire Chinese military drill – including a U-2 which entered a declared no-fly zone – triggering a protest from Beijing and heightening the risk of an armed conflict.

The development followed weeks of increased US activity in the region, with numerous military jets and vessels deployed to keep a close watch on Chinese activity.

The Beijing-based think tank South China Sea Probing Initiative said a US air force reconnaissance aircraft RC-135S flew across the South China Sea on Wednesday, during the Chinese military drill. But it said it appeared the plane was on a transfer, rather than a reconnaissance mission.