DOD Hosts China Talks, Holds Firm on “Reckless” Intercept

The US Navy is hosting regular staff discussions with Chinese People’s Liberation Army counterparts at the Pentagon this week in order to share concerns about air and maritime activities in the Western Pacific, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday. The talks come just one week after a controversial aerial encounter between a Chinese J-11 and a Navy P-8 surveillance aircraft. Kirby did not comment on the nature of the talks, nor if they would address the most recent incident, but said military-to-military ties between the two countries are important and should continue. “That is not made easier by incidents like this,” he said, noting cooperation is not helped by “reckless behavior” in international airspace. Replying to a question regarding a recent editorial in an ultra-nationalist Chinese newspaper, which said China would confront the US more if it does not scale back surveillance activities, Kirby noted the P-8 was conducting a routine mission in international airspace, and under no circumstances was it acceptable to “fly a fighter around a reconnaissance aircraft in the manner in which it was done.” The US has treaty allies in the region, has interests in the Pacific and will not be changing its operations, he added.