The U.S. warned China Thursday against confronting U.S. aerial patrols over the South China Sea days after a verbal dispute between a Chinese military dispatcher and a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the Navy released two videos and an audio recording of the confrontation, which took place on Wednesday when the Chinese dispatcher demanded eight times that the Navy P8-A Poseidon leave the area as it flew over Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Island chain, where China has conducted extensive reclamation work.
“Foreign military aircraft, this is Chinese navy. You are approaching our military alert zone. Leave immediately,” the dispatcher said on the recording. After the American crew responded that it was flying over international waters, the Chinese dispatcher responded “This is the Chinese navy … You go!”
The incident was the latest example of friction between Washington and Beijing, with China seeking to assert its expansive claims to the South China Sea and the U.S. pushing back and attempting to demonstrate that China’s massive land reclamation does not give it territorial rights.