Chinese military planes intercept US aircraft

The WC-135 crew characterized the intercept as unprofessional "due to the maneuvers by the Chinese pilot, as well as the speeds and proximity of both aircraft", Hodge said.

The WC-135 aircraft is specifically created to collect data about possible nuclear explosions.

The officials wouldn't say whether the confrontation was considered unsafe, but they said the crew of the US plane described it as "unprofessional".

She noted that the WC-135 was on a routine mission at the time of the alleged intercept and was operating within global airspace, Reuters reported.

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Over the years, the US, China and several of the South East Asian countries have had disputes over rival activity in the South China Sea.

The WC-135 has been regularly deployed on routine missions in Northeast Asia, according to the official.

Mid-air interceptions occur routinely in global airspace, but the U.S. military will often call out foreign pilots if it judges the maneuvers to be risky or unprofessional.

They called the actions by the Chinese jets "unprofessional".

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China has not commented on the incident, but it accuses the United States of carrying out reconnaissance flights over Chinese coastal waters and regularly calls on the United States to reduce patrols in the area. "Each interaction is different, and in this case, we are not providing more specifics as we would rather discuss it privately with China through our Military Maritime Consultative Agreement meeting and through diplomatic channels. But as for this question you have raised and are concerned about, we need to understand and check what was the actual situation on the scene", she added.

Such incidents have occurred occasionally over and within the South China Sea, which China claims virtually in its entirety.

A group of disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

China's Ministry of National Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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