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3. China refutes US claims on plane intercept

China's Defense ministry has refuted criticism by the United States, saying the intercept of a US patrol plane by 2 Chinese fighter jets was conducted in a legitimate manner.

The Pentagon had criticized China, saying its fighter jets carried out an "unsafe" intercept of a US P-3 Orion Surveillance plane on Thursday in international airspace over the South China Sea.

China's Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian issued a statement on Sunday. He said the Chinese planes were identifying the US plane based on the law and rules, and that the action was "professional and safe."

In a similar incident on May 17th, China also rejected US claims that 2 Chinese SU-30 jets carried out an "unprofessional" intercept of a US WC-135 plane. The plane was collecting radiation samples in the atmosphere.

In the statement, Wu added that the US military has several times recently dispatched ships and aircraft in waters and airspace facing China, infringing upon its sovereignty and endangering the lives of front line personnel from both sides.

He said the US military's activity is the root of the problem.
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