Beijing on Wednesday clapped back at U.S. allegations that a Chinese fighter jet carried out an “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” as it intercepted a U.S. Air Force plane last week. In a statement, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the Chinese fighter “flew directly in front of the nose” of the American RC-135 over the South China Sea, “forcing the U.S. aircraft to fly through its wake turbulence.” At a press briefing Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning demanded that the U.S. stop its reconnaissance flights and insisted Beijing would continue to defend its sovereignty. “The U.S. should immediately stop these dangerous provocations,” Mao said. China claims ownership of almost all of the South China Sea, though such claims are not recognized internationally. China’s state-controlled Global Times newspaper on Wednesday cited an anonymous “military expert” in likening the U.S. to a “thief crying ‘stop thief.’” “If someone keeps wandering around on your doorsteps and taking photos all the time with obvious malicious intentions, it is not your fault if you make them go away,” the unnamed expert told the publication.
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