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Two Chinese Sukhoi-27 Fighter Jets Pursue US Spy Plane

Two Chinese fighter jets reportedly crossed into Taiwan's airspace in late June in pursuit of a United States spy plane. 

Taiwan's Defence ministry said it sent two F-16 fighters to intercept the Chinese Sukhoi-27 jets near the central line across the 113-mile wide Taiwan Strait.

The ministry said it was the first time that Chinese jets have breached its airspace since 1999 and that the two Chinese jets quickly turned around. A spokesman added that he believed the incident was "an accident" and that Taiwan had been "in full control" of the situation.

A Taiwanese newspaper, the United Daily News, said the Chinese jets had been in pursuit of a US U-2 reconnaissance plane. However, both the Taiwanese Defence ministry and the Pentagon declined to confirm the report.

China has long objected to US reconnaissance of its coastline, especially since a US spy plane crashed into a People's Liberation Army jet in 2001 near Hainan island, killing the Chinese pilot. The crew of the US plane was detained for 11 days in a diplomatic row.

However, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, told reporters in Washington that the US would "not be deterred from flying in international airspace". He said: "The Chinese would see us move out of there. We're not going to do that, from my perspective. These reconnaissance flights are important".

Chinese Fighter Jets ‘Repel’ US Spy Aircraft26 Jul 2011(CNBC)[what's this]His spokesman later clarified that he was not referring to the alleged incident, but to the general principle of the US flying surveillance planes in the region.  

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