Two Chinese fighter jets have buzzed a U.S. spy plane that sniffs out nuclear radiation while flying over the East China Sea, underlining Beijing’s discomfort with American surveillance in its neighborhood.
The incident, reported Friday, also comes amid disagreement between the two countries on how to confront the nuclear and missile programs of North Korea, which depends on China as its main economic lifeline.
The American plane, a WC-135 Constant Phoenix, collects samples from the air to detect nuclear explosions.
The U.S. Air Force said it was on a routine mission in international airspace.
An American official told CNN, however, that the plane has been regularly deployed in Northeast Asia to gather evidence of possible further nuclear tests by North Korea.