On September 16th, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the US Air Force has been flying missions with spy planes over the South China Sea disguised with Malaysian civil aircraft codes.
According to it, this action is provocative and dangerous.
According to Chinese media reports, a United States Air Force RC-135W electronic reconnaissance aircraft took off from an airbase on Okinawa at 8:00 am on September 16th.
Shortly after taking off, the identification signal disappeared, then an aircraft identified as a Malaysian passenger plane appeared on a flight path consistent with the same route.
The has happened for three consecutive days, the reports said, accusing the US of using Malaysian civil aircraft identification codes to conduct surveillance on China.
“It is the old trick of the US military to use a transponder code to impersonate civil aircraft of other countries. According to incomplete data, since the beginning of this year, the US reconnaissance aircraft have electronically impersonated civil aircraft of other countries in the South China Sea for more than a hundred times. This above-mentioned practice is egregious, which has severely violated international aviation rules, disrupted the aviation order and safety in relevant airspace, threatened the security of China and countries in the region. China firmly opposes that.
We urge the US side to immediately stop such dangerous, provocative behaviors to avoid accidents in the air and at sea. China will continue work with regional countries to firmly safeguard the freedoms and safety of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea as well as the peace and stability in the region,” Wang Webin said.
Beijing think-tank SCS Probing Initiatives reported a USAF RC-135W flying disguised as a Malaysian plane on September 8th, and again September 10th. Another case was detected on September 3rd.
— SCS Probing Initiative (@SCS_PI) September 8, 2020
“This undoubtedly added up to great risk and uncertainty to international flight safety, which could lead to misjudgment (by ground air defence systems) and probably bring danger to civilian aircraft especially those being impersonated,” the think tank said in its report.
One of the best known incidents of misidentification occurred in 1983 when Korean Airlines flight 007 was shot down by the Soviet Union air force, killing all 269 on-board. The civilian plane was mistaken for a US spy plane after an RC-135 was observed crossing its flight path in Soviet airspace.
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