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Chinese fighter jets intercept US surveillance plane

New York: Two Chinese fighter jets on Sunday unsafely intercepted a US Navy surveillance plane over the East China Sea with one coming within about 300 feet (91 meters) of the American aircraft, two officials said.

Initial reports showed one of the Chinese J-10 aircraft came close to the US EP-3 plane, causing the American aircraft to change direction in an evasive action. The officials on condition of anonymity told Reuters as they were not authorised to speak publicly on the matter.

One of the officials said the Chinese jet was armed and the incident took place 80 nautical miles (148 km) from the Chinese city of Qingdao. Such kind of intercepts that happened on Sundays is not uncommon.

In May, two Chinese SU-30 aircraft intercepted a US aircraft designed to detect radiation while it was flying in international air space over the East China Sea. China has been deeply suspicious of any US military activity around its coastline.