Noting the “unsafe” and “unprofessional” intercepts by China in recent days, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned of China’s “growing aggressiveness” in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea.
“It won’t be long before somebody gets hurt,” the White House spokesperson told reporters. “That’s the concern with these unsafe and unprofessional intercepts.”
Kirby added that Washington would continue to stand up for the freedom of navigation in the air and sea.
“I sure would like to hear Beijing justify what they’re doing,” Kirby said. “Air and maritime intercepts happen all the time. Heck, we do it. The difference is…when we feel like we need to do it, it’s done professionally.”
US military’s allegations
The US Navy on Sunday released a video titled “Unsafe interaction” in the Taiwan Strait. The video showed a Chinese warship crossing in front of a US destroyer.
The US military alleged that the Chinese Navy knowingly carried out “unsafe manoeuvres” near the destroyer transiting the sensitive Taiwan Strait.
Previously, the two nations locked horns when a Chinese plane “flew directly in front of and within 400 feet of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the US aircraft to fly through its wake turbulence”.
In a declassified video footage, a fighter plane could be seen crossing in front of the American aircraft which appears to be shaking due to the resulting turbulence.
The statements by Kirby come a couple of days after Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu said any conflict with the US would be an “unbearable disaster” for the world, during the Shangri-La security summit in Singapore.
“China and the US have different systems and are different in many other ways,” said Li who was giving his first major speech since taking on the role.
“However, this should not keep the two sides from seeking common ground and common interests to grow bilateral ties and deepen cooperation,” he said.
“It is undeniable that a severe conflict or confrontation between China and the US will be an unbearable disaster for the world.”
Despite both sides talking of caution, it was Beijing that declined an invitation for a meeting between the country’s defence ministers along the sidelines of Asia’s top security summit.