Beijing: China is protesting the alleged incursion of a U.S. Air Force U-2 spy plane into a no-fly zone imposed during live-fire military exercises in the country’s north.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, the Ministry of National Defense said the action had seriously interfered in normal exercise activities and severely incurred the risk of misjudgment and even of bringing about an unintended air-sea incident.
This was a naked act of provocation, the ministry said, quoting spokesperson Wu Qian. China has lodged a stern protest and demanded the U.S. cease such actions, Wu said.
The statement said the exercises were being staged by China’s Northern Theater Command but gave no details as to their exact time and place. However, the Maritime Safety Administration had announced drills that started Monday and run through Sept. 30 over the Bohai Gulf east of Beijing, an area under the northern command.
China is also staging naval drills in the South China Sea, which it claims virtually in its entirety but over which five other governments also exercise claims. China objects to all U.S. military activity in and over the strategic waterway, especially freedom of navigation operations” during which U.S. Navy ships sail near to Chinese-held islands.