China has warned the US surveillance plane flying over the artificial islands eight times, as per the records of CNN which is exclusively on board of the plane.
Though the American pilots responded that the plane is flying in the international air space, a Chinese radio operator said with exasperation: “This is the Chinese navy … You go!”
The P8-A Poseidon, the US military’s most advanced surveillance aircraft, flew at 15,000 feet (4,500 metres) at its lowest point, CNN said.
This incident along with the recent Chinese warning to the Philippine aircraft suggests, that the Chinese navy wanted to create a Military exclusive zone above the artificial islands. Some security experts fear the risk of confrontation, especially after a US official said last week that the Pentagon was considering sending military aircraft and ships to assert freedom of navigation around the Chinese-made islands.
A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said he was not aware of the incident.
“China has the right to engage in monitoring in the relevant airspace and waters to protect the country’s sovereignty and prevent accidents at sea,” ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a regular briefing. “We hope the relevant country can earnestly respect China’s sovereignty in the South China Sea.”
Footage taken by the P8-A Poseidon and aired by CNN showed a hive of construction and dredging activity on the new islands the plane flew over, as well as Chinese navy ships nearby, the CNN Politics reports.
CNN said it was the first time the Pentagon had declassified video of China’s building activity and audio of challenges to a US aircraft.