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English>>Foreign Affairs

Chinese embassy rejects U.S. paper's account of military air encounter over S. China Sea

(Xinhua)    17:07, June 01, 2016

WASHINGTON, May 31 -- The Chinese Embassy in Washington on Tuesday rejected the New York Times' account about a recent air encounter between Chinese and U.S. military planes over the South China Sea.

The Chinese military aircraft acted professionally while it watched the U.S. Navy spy plane carrying out close reconnaissance in Chinese coastal waters, said Zhu Haiquan, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy, in a letter to the Times published on the paper's website Tuesday.

"Our operation was completely compliant with safety and professional standards. The attempt at intimidation by American military aircraft in the South China Sea, however, was not," Zhu pointed out.

The encounter occurred about two weeks ago over China's Hainan Island. The Chinese Defense Ministry in Beijing has accused the American plane of espionage, saying the Chinese aircraft responded properly in line with professional standards and a bilateral agreement.

"Regarding the incident raised in the editorial, our information indicates that Chinese military aircraft followed from a safe distance and monitored the American plane carrying out close reconnaissance in Chinese coastal waters," Zhu wrote in the letter, responding to the May 21 Times editorial entitled "Playing Chicken in the South China Sea."

The editorial alleged that "China has been behaving in a bellicose fashion" in its effort to uphold sovereignty.

Zhu stressed that "China is exercising its legitimate rights by upholding the sovereignty of our islands in the South China Sea," which was restored after World War II, in accordance with the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation.

"The South China Sea should not be turned into a geopolitical chessboard. We hope the United States, instead of flexing muscles, could play a responsible and constructive role in promoting dialogue and negotiation," Zhu wrote.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Huang Jin,Bianji)

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