Exclusive audio recording appears to show PLA sending bilingual warnings to US spy plane
Published: Jul 14, 2023 01:42 PM

An exclusive audio recording appeared to show that the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) sent stern warnings to US P-8A anti-submarine patrol aircraft and asked it to turn around while the latter was transiting through the Taiwan Straits on Thursday in a provocative move.  

A US P-8A anti-submarine patrol aircraft on Thursday transited through the Taiwan Straits, and the PLA Eastern Theater Command deployed combat aircraft to track and monitor it throughout its entire course in accordance with laws and regulations, Senior Colonel Shi Yi, a spokesperson for the PLA Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement on Thursday.

An audio recording sent from Chinese satellite remote sensing and geospacing analysis company MizarVision to the Global Times disclosed details of the encounter, with the PLA warning the US aircraft in Chinese and English that it is approaching China's territory and requiring it to turn around immediately or it will be intercepted.

Technicians from MizarVision who are familiar with the matter told the Global Times that the PLA's warning was made through the international aviation emergency frequencies and was acquired by facility of the Air Traffic Control (ATC).  

According to the data of the US P-8A anti-submarine patrol aircraft, the US aircraft was transiting the Taiwan Straits when the event occurred. This proved that the PLA fighter planes had been following and monitoring the US aircraft during the whole process and the warning was made  according to laws and regulations. 

The recording also showed the PLA's resolution in driving away the US provocation. 

The US Seventh Fleet claimed in a release on its official website on Thursday that the transiting of the P-8A demonstrate "the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region." 

While media on the island of Taiwan also reported the PLA's activities on Thursday, saying that PLA's 26 fighter jets of various types, including J-10, J-11, J-16, and Su-30 had been deployed and some of them joined the mission in regard to the P-8A. Taiwan media also said a total of 13 fighter jets flew over the so-called median line to conduct joint sea-air exercises with PLA warships.

In response to the US military's deliberate provocation, Fu Qianshao, a military expert, told the Global Times that its military purpose is obvious as the Taiwan Straits is a highly sensitive area while P-8A can perform various tasks such as anti-submarine, anti-ship, reconnaissance and surveillance. 

Ongoing US moves pose a severe threat to China's security and China must act in response. "The behavior of the US military is definitely not innocent passage, but a blatant provocation," Fu told the Global Times.

An anonymous military expert told the Global Times that it is common for China to see various and similar excuses used by the US and its military have acted in a similar way in the past. In fact, the US military is well aware of the sensitivity of its moves and any of its operations in such sensitive areas would be carried out with carefully-chosen time, area, path, equipment and disposal method. 

The US military has a carefully designed "standard" format to respond to the PLA's warnings. But no matter how it plays with words, it cannot change the essence of the US deliberate provocation, nor will it cover up its bullying of others, the expert said. 

The expert said that the "freedom of navigation" and "innocent passage" cited by the US are based on its hegemonic logic. Countries all over the world should remain vigilant to such logic, the expert added. 

The PLA pilots also showed professionalism and courage in dealing with the incident. It is legitimate and reasonable for PLA pilots to drive away targets that endanger China's national security, according to the expert.

"The warnings are carried out in both Chinese and English on an international channel to ensure that the others can hear and understand," said the expert.

Fu said that the PLA pilot's handling of the incident is very standard. If a foreign aircraft does not leave immediately, the PLA will take further action, including intercepting it, using radar illumination, or firing at the front of the foreign military plane's flight course as a warning.