Playing ‘a-thief-crying-stop-thief’ trick, Pentagon hypes ‘China-threat’ with new images of PLA’s legitimate intercepts of US surveillance aircraft
Published: Oct 18, 2023 11:34 PM
The Pentagon seen from an airplane over Washington DC. Photo: Xinhua

The Pentagon seen from an airplane over Washington DC. Photo: Xinhua

Playing "a-thief-crying-stop-thief" trick, the Pentagon on Tuesday released previously nonpublic videos and photos of more than a dozen "risky or reckless" maneuvers by Chinese fighter jets to get close to US surveillance planes over the East and South China seas.

Such accusations, which are inconsistent with the facts, were rejected by Chinese analysts on Wednesday, who said that as the Pentagon prepares to unveil its annual report on China's military power, this is no doubt another US attempt to spread false information to serve its anti-China Indo-Pacific strategy as well as the US "China-threat" narrative.

According to the Pentagon, the Chinese military has conducted more than 180 "risky intercepts" since 2021, which are "already more than in the past decade," the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. 

When you include aerial close encounters of [US] allies and partners, the number rises to nearly 300, the report cited Pentagon officials as saying.

The Pentagon's release of the photos and videos came after Canada, the US' close ally, made a similar accusation concerning a recent interception of a Canadian surveillance plane by a Chinese fighter jet, which it called "reckless."

However, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning on Tuesday, it turned out to be a complete provocation toward China as the Canadian CP-140 plane in fact illegally entered China's airspace over the country's Chiwei islet, a part of the Diaoyu Islands, on Saturday, seriously violating China's sovereignty and threatening the country's national security.

The truth is that Canadian military aircraft traveled thousands of miles to cause trouble and provoke China on its own doorstep. China has handled the matter in accordance with the law, Mao said. 

Playing "a-thief-crying-stop-thief" trick, the US defense authorities' move serves to back its "little brother Canada," as well as hype the clichéd China-threat theory in the East and South China seas as ways to manipulate allies and partners in the regions for its camp confrontation purpose, an international affairs observer who requested not to be named told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Intercepting foreign military forces' surveillance planes and warships that are carrying out close-in reconnaissance and provocative activities on China's doorstep is in accordance with China's domestic laws as well as international law. What the People's Liberation Army (PLA) air and naval forces have done was legitimate, as it is their duty to safeguard the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Wednesday.  

"Since the fall of 2021, we have seen serious increases in actions that took their aircraft much closer" to US planes, including during "higher risk" operations like air-to-air refueling, said Admiral John C Aquilino, a graduate of the Navy's "Top Gun" advanced fighter school and now commander of all US military forces in the so-called Indo-Pacific.

China's interceptions came after the US and its allies and partners' provocations as a necessary response, the US must not distort these facts, Song said. 

"The increase in China's countermeasures lies in that, on one hand, the frequency of US-led Western provocations is on the rise, while on the other hand, the PLA has growingly built a strong capability to carry out such professional intercepts," Song said.  

 "Just so we're clear...  The pressure we're seeing is only from the [People's Republic of China]. Their objective is … to force the United States out of the region. And that's just not going to happen," said Aquilino.

The Pentagon is trying to create a "China aggression" atmosphere in the region so that Washington can draw more countries in the region to favor its competition with China, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.